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The Handmaid's Tale | [Margaret Atwood]

The Handmaid's Tale

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name....
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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential - Margaret Atwood’s modern classic is one of the most stunning and powerful works of speculative fiction ever written, and it took a lot of careful consideration to determine who would best narrate this important book. Claire Danes elevates the frightening dystopic vision by lending a sheen of reality with her performance. She doesn't act, and she doesn't need to. She recounts. She breathes out the tale as if she is living it. Resigned, beaten down, traveling through hell by putting one step ahead of the other. I was utterly convinced by her performance. —Emily

Publisher's Summary

Audie Award, Fiction, 2013

Margaret Atwood's popular dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale explores a broad range of issues relating to power, gender and religious politics. Multiple Golden Globe award-winner Claire Danes (Romeo and Juliet, The Hours) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, one of the most powerful and widely read novels of our time.

After a staged terrorist attack kills the President and most of Congress, the government is deposed and taken over by the oppressive and all controlling Republic of Gilead. Offred, now a Handmaid serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules in hopes of ending this oppression.

The Handmaid's Tale is part of Audible’s A-List Collection, featuring the world’s most celebrated actors narrating distinguished works of literature that each star had a hand in selecting. For more great books performed by Hollywood’s finest, click here.

©1985 Margaret Atwood (P)2012 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“Claire Danes sparkles in this performance…Danes’s Offred is complex, and her flashes of intense strength highlight her vulnerability. This is a consuming listen, thanks to Danes’s emotional subtleties.” (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (5250 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Karie J. Ward Decatur MI 01-31-15
    Karie J. Ward Decatur MI 01-31-15 Member Since 2012

    kariejeanne

    ratings
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    3
    3
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    "Couldn't stop listening."

    I was mesmerized by this story! I sat up at night listening. Claire Danes is perfect and the story is gripping.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    anna v. 01-27-15
    anna v. 01-27-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Could not get past the first half"

    I am a big fan of audiobooks, but to me not all books work on this format. More literary titles suffer. This is the case here. I could not grasp, with this recording, all the riches and subtleties of Atwood's book.
    Claire Danes narration was utterly disappointing. She sounded always very depressed, with an artificial low tone that I could not stand for very long.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    charla Sioux Falls, SD, US 01-23-15
    charla Sioux Falls, SD, US 01-23-15
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    13
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    "This was a very interesting listen."

    Like no other book I've ever read or listened to, it was very provocative. I don't know if I would have enjoyed a narrator other than Claire Danes. She was superb and made visualizing OfFred very easy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rhonda 01-21-15
    Rhonda 01-21-15
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    3
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    "I feel shell shocked"

    I had to stop part way through and take a long break. It's so painful and beautiful. I needed time to let it percolate.

    I've read this book decades ago. Claire Danes improved the experience for me. I will listen to this again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S.Michelle 01-14-15
    S.Michelle 01-14-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Really makes you think"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's a really great "book club" book. So many things to discuss


    What did you like best about this story?

    How close it is set to our time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Orthodork 01-08-15
    Orthodork 01-08-15 Member Since 2012
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    7
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    "Amazing book!"

    Wonderful book, really thought-provoking because so many questions were left unanswered. Claire Danes does an exceptional job with narration as well. Highly recommended!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melkorka 01-08-15
    Melkorka 01-08-15 Member Since 2015
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    9
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    "A must read/hear"

    A wonderful narrator of an eerily relvant tale. The war aginst women has indeed escalated and this tale is a causion against the lengths it can go

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JulietHopeWayne 01-05-15
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    4
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    "Best Audiobook I've heard"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    I wanted to listen to it over again right when it ended. Margaret Atwood so perfectly and believably writes the narrator's inner thoughts. So realistic and fresh.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    It's easy to like Moira- the energetic, resourceful lesbian. But this book isn't about liking characters-and Claire Danes brings something distinct to each character it's hard not to be drawn in even if you hate them.


    What does Claire Danes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    She just SELLS it. Even though you can't see her, she fully embodies each character when she reads their lines. Sometimes I had to backtrack and listen again because she can so completely sound like another actor entirely. Old bastards, traumatized young women, snooty backstabbing old biddies, the myriad of emotions Offred goes through from the old, carefree way of life to her "reduced circumstances."


    If you could take any character from The Handmaid's Tale out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Offred so I could hear more, I guess.


    Any additional comments?

    It's going to be tough to find an audiobook that lives up to this one. The "a-list" series looks a little thin, and I wonder if they let the actors and actresses pick their own titles.

    It would not surprise me if Claire Danes had picked this one. There are a lot of similarities between the themes here and on Homeland (double spies, trying to overthrow totalitarian leaders, women in peril, public executions, how the human mind adapts to extreme circumstances).

    Even though Atwood wrote this in the mid-80's it's still unfortunately, very relevant and illuminates aspects of our government that, I'm afraid, have gotten closer to this book then when it was written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kirstie Las Cruces, NM, United States 01-04-15
    Kirstie Las Cruces, NM, United States 01-04-15 Member Since 2007

    I am so grateful for audio books. I can quench my love for reading and still drive, run a half marathon, or do my household chores!

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    "Great Book"

    I loved the narration by Clare Danes. The story is riveting and thought provoking. A classic, must read for all.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Mount Macedon, Australia 12-29-14
    Emily Mount Macedon, Australia 12-29-14 Member Since 2015

    A lover of audiobooks of all kinds, since childhood, when long car journeys were accompanied by Discworld stories. @ReineDesLivres (Twitter)

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    "A disturbing vision, well told by Claire Danes"

    The Handmaid's Tale is an alarming story of a society where women have been entirely subjugated, rendered powerless and even nameless, taking their identities from the men who control them. Margaret Atwood's tale is brought vividly to life by Claire Danes, who reads with longing for the former times, fear of what her character finds herself in, and depicts perfectly the dystopian society of Gilead. This could not be better told, and could not have a better narrator.

    This is not a comfortable listen, but a necessary one given the struggle for equality that women still face around the world.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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