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The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook
The Handmaid's Tale
Written by: 
Margaret Atwood
Narrated by: 
Claire Danes
 >   > 
The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook

The Handmaid's Tale

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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

4.2 (8202 )
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4.1 (7456 )
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4.5 (7420 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Jessica Smarr 08-24-15 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "There's a reason it's a 'classic'"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    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.


    What other book might you compare The Handmaid's Tale to and why?

    For me, this book is the feminist sister to "1984" and "Brave New World."


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Biering Stone Mountain, GA United States 08-20-15
    Mark Biering Stone Mountain, GA United States 08-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    6
    2
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    "Just as involving and as devastating as ever"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    olivia 08-19-15
    olivia 08-19-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    4
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    "Horrible"

    Hard to follow. Too many unanswered questions. I bought it because of the ratings, boy was I wrong. What a waste of credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    joylina Distel 08-18-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    3
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    "Starts slow but interesting"

    This book was one that starts slow and carefully unfolds itself to allow you to see traits in society and people you can identify with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karyn H. 08-18-15
    Karyn H. 08-18-15
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    5
    3
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    "Really interesting read....."
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    Intriguing, apocalyptic, dark


    What other book might you compare The Handmaid's Tale to and why?

    The Road


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison 08-17-15
    Allison 08-17-15
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    13
    2
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    Performance
    Story
    "Bleak"
    What would have made The Handmaid's Tale better?

    A different story line - offer some hope to mankind.


    What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

    It was so bleak and made conception and childbirth a job which enslaved, not a beautiful miracle


    What three words best describe Claire Danes’s performance?

    monotone


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dixie J. Singer 08-17-15

    dix

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "I was was there!"

    I loved this book. I felt that I was agonizing over everything the main character experienced. Maragaret Arwood is an excellent writer.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan Dawson 08-16-15 Member Since 2014

    Lover of a great memoir, far more interested in unusual stories. Prefer to read people of color, LGBT, women authors.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not my kind of story, disliked the narrator"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Not much. Another story, another narrator.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    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::


    How could the performance have been better?

    Claire Danes is a fine actress but I find her annoying, no less in this role.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Handmaid's Tale?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    This is probably a much better book for folks who enjoy science fiction.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Miran D. Elseewi stellar dragon 08-15-15
    Miran D. Elseewi stellar dragon 08-15-15 Member Since 2012

    stellar dragon

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    8
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "This book is a little flat"

    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?

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David T. Laughrun 08-12-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "Wow! A chilling possible future! Prescient!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    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.


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

    This story is made far more real when it is read by a woman, especially one as talented as Claire Danes!


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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