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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 (4904 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Juli Ford Alhadeff Plymouth, MA 06-17-14
    Juli Ford Alhadeff Plymouth, MA 06-17-14 Member Since 2011
    ratings
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    "Claire Danes is the perfect narrator for this book"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    I really enjoyed the story and I particularly loved Claire Danes performance. For me, she made the book. I have a really difficult time staying interested in audio books with most narrators and have typically found the only fiction audiobook narrators that I love to include Jim Dale, Cherry Jones and Kenneth Branagh etc... Claire Danes is now in that category for me.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Her vocal tone, style and pacing was perfect. She also did a beautiful job taking on the personalities of the many characters in the book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margot Carlson Malibu, CA United States 06-11-14
    Margot Carlson Malibu, CA United States 06-11-14 Member Since 2011
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    23
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    "Outstanding narration"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have read The Handmaid's Tale at least 5 times, therefore I already have a voice in my head that is Offred's. Claire Danes's narration does not displace that voice, but rather enhances it. Listening to her read, I would forget sometimes that I know what happens, becoming enraptured by her storytelling. I never expected to love the audiobook so much.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Handmaid's Tale?

    To me the whole book is memorable because it's such a cautionary tale for women, losing one freedom after another until there is no power. During GW Bush's presidency when the CCTV cameras were going up everywhere and rights were being taken away, I was conscious of The Eye watching.


    Which character – as performed by Claire Danes – was your favorite?

    I love Offred, she is an old friend of mine.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book chills me to my bones, every time.


    Any additional comments?

    Great production, great voiceover, great author, great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 05-31-14
    Susan Memphis, TN, United States 05-31-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Excellent Audiobook"

    Claire Danes gives one of the best performances I've ever heard in my 10+ years as an in Audible member. Even if you have read this book in print, revisiting it as an audiobook is well worth your time.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Rynick 05-21-14 Member Since 2015
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    "brilliant all around"
    Any additional comments?

    Fantastic performance of a classic well deserving of the title. Thoroughly absorbing from start to finish.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ben Wi 05-18-14
    Ben Wi 05-18-14 Member Since 2015
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    "Not too often are books overly descriptive"
    What would have made The Handmaid's Tale better?

    This book could have been cut in half if they didn't have to have 20 adjectives to describe the smallest of details. Made listening laborious. I wanted to get to the story!


    What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

    Drawn out.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 04-25-14
    Linda SOMERVILLE, MA, United States 04-25-14 Member Since 2015

    Librarian, blogger, reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A classic, very well told"

    Claire Danes somehow seems a surprising choice to narrate, but I found her tone and style to be quite perfect for this classic feminist novel. I hadn't read The Handmaid's Tale in probably close to 20 years, but it's still just as good as it was then, maybe even better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karin W 04-23-14
    Karin W 04-23-14

    Scifi bibliophile

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    "Today's religious fundamentalists tomorrow"

    When looking at dystopian novels, the scariest part is looking at our present and seeing the seeds of it in our current society. The seeds of The Handmaid's Tale are in every fundamental religious home and community. It's in every child that is told to be obedient to God just because and every woman who is subservient to her husband because of scripture. It isn't far from there before woman are baby machines and kept ignorant for their own purity and good.

    On top of being eerily believable, the book is beautifully written. It's a classic that easily makes my list of best science fiction books ever written.

    Claire Danes was a wonderful choice for narration. While I can't say that I would want her to narrate any other books, I can say that she was absolutely the right choice for this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Desertpat 04-23-14
    Desertpat 04-23-14
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    3
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    "Scary but entertaining"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    A friend recommended this and I can see why. However, it did give me nightmares. Very entertaining and well written.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Handmaid's Tale?

    After reading a chapter and going to sleep, I had a nightmare that I was drugged in a house and needed a lawyer to get me out.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Excellent reading.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Pretty dark tale but well written.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie 04-17-14
    Julie 04-17-14
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    "Interesting, futuristic, Clare Danes is great!"

    The title sounded familiar so I thought I would try it. I was surprised to find out that it was an older book. The story was a little bizarre but interesting. At the end, I guess I needed a little more explanation of what happened to her and her family. Very futuristic, not usually my first pick but I did enjoy the listen.
    The narration was great!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 04-08-14
    Drew (@drewsant) Watertown, MA, United States 04-08-14 Member Since 2012

    Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Too ridiculous, poor performance"

    I’ll preface my review by saying that I couldn’t get through “The Handmaid’s Tale”. The whole idea of the way the society is structured was just too ridiculous for me and coming from someone who likes zombie books that’s saying a lot. I enjoyed the way the book jumped between the present and giving glimpses of the past, but getting more than 50% through the book and not really knowing what happened to make the world transition was annoying. Also through the first half the author does a good job of putting you in the story but the story doesn’t really move anywhere. I was going to continue through and finish it but then I realized I don’t like the books so I should spend my time reading something I would actually enjoy.

    Claire Danes reads the book rather than narrates it. There is very little (if any) distinction between the voices of the characters. Her reading of the book is flat which may be her trying to convey the subservience of the women in the book but just makes the book seem even less interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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