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.
“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)
I absolutely devoured this book. It maintains the suspense throughout with slow, maintained reveals throughout the story. It's paced beautifully. The character development is also incredibly believable. While I sometimes had a hard time suspending my disbelief in regards to the plot and the built world, the characters are heartbreakingly realistic.
For me, this book is the feminist sister to "1984" and "Brave New World."
I enjoyed this just a much as I did when I first read it back in the 80's - probably more, as Danes' narration really does add something to the material. She has a good feel for the characters, especially the protagonist (as you would hope), and does a fine job of conveying Offred's emotional state as she's dragged through one indignity after another.
The few technical details that might seem dated don't detract from the story - it just feels like an alternate version of the USA, one where many things headed in different directions than our version.
As always, Margaret Atwood's lovely, poetic prose adds a delicious sense of gravity and portent to every scene.
Intriguing, apocalyptic, dark
When Serena showed her a photo of her child that had been taken from her. Giving her hope and despair all at the same time.
A different story line - offer some hope to mankind.
It was so bleak and made conception and childbirth a job which enslaved, not a beautiful miracle
Lover of a great memoir, far more interested in unusual stories. Prefer to read people of color, LGBT, women authors.
Not much. Another story, another narrator.
I found the post-apocalyptic harnessing of women's bodies for procreation foreboding of what is to come if many republicans in congress get their way and it is so eerie. I understand why Atwood wrote the book but the way it it told is very confusing and it is hard to follow. Once you understand what's going on it is just enraging. Dystopian womb-enslaving compounds. ::shiver::
Claire Danes is a fine actress but I find her annoying, no less in this role.
Not sure. I think many in the beginning where she is just doing chores and the story drags on without much information about who she is/where she is.
This is probably a much better book for folks who enjoy science fiction.
The story is drawn out and long with no real excitement and an especially flat ending. You go through listening/reading about all these characters with just as much detachment as the main character seems to have for everything. I felt I was tagging along to a bunch of thoughts that went nowhere. For example. The character spends all this time looking for Moyra and when she finally sees her again it's completely uneventful and then she says she never sees her again after that. Boring. And while some think the story is "possible" I would think that if infertility was an issue in a future scape that women would be more lab science projects rather than having some regressed society where women are enslaved to procreate?
The artful writing and the beautiful narration draw you into a tale that is frighteningly possible . This is a thought provoking look at the intersection of religion, politics, and women's rights.
This story is made far more real when it is read by a woman, especially one as talented as Claire Danes!
It is hard to believe this story wasn't written this year! The issues discussed have only become more important in our society since it was written.
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