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 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.
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.
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.
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.
I love Offred, she is an old friend of mine.
This book chills me to my bones, every time.
Great production, great voiceover, great author, great book.
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.
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!
Librarian, blogger, reader
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.
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.
A friend recommended this and I can see why. However, it did give me nightmares. Very entertaining and well written.
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.
Pretty dark tale but well written.
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!
Post apocalyptic listener with some thrillers mixed in. Follow me on twitter at @drewsant
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.
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