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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 (4042 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Margaret 11-01-13
    Margaret 11-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    30
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    Story
    "Amazing story!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! It's awesome!


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

    Claire Danes is awesome! Fantastic reader!


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

    This book is rich with emotion and super thought provoking?


    Any additional comments?

    One of my favs!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roswatheist Dexter, New Mexico, United States 11-01-13
    Roswatheist Dexter, New Mexico, United States 11-01-13 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Terrifying Dystopia"

    A fundamentalist Christian theocracy gone terribly wrong. The imagery is perfect. Offred is so normal, she makes us see how easily a person with natural urges could go totally insane in a place like Gilead. Gilead shows how important freedom of and from religion are.

    This is a good gift for that person in your life who thinks that the government should decide how we can live through scripture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Charlotte, NC, United States 10-31-13
    Amazon Customer Charlotte, NC, United States 10-31-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Great story...thought provoking"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    Not able to...This is a good story that makes you think and makes you want to sympathize with the character. The handmaid walks you through life after turmoil where no woman has a mind of her own and is treated as property but only valued if she can produce. The way it is written it seems that it is not too far from what could really happen.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that through the trials the main character kept herself together and found positivity in her situation.


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

    She makes the story sound real as though she was the character telling the story as if it happened to her.


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

    It would be the wife. She does not play a huge part in the story but I would want to know her true feelings about the situation. I know that she has to feel inadequate BUT to talk to her about her role specifically and what goes through her head during the ritual.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Bothell, WA, United States 10-30-13
    Elizabeth Bothell, WA, United States 10-30-13 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    31
    5
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    Story
    "Claire Danes made me car sick"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Old ladies with no sense of adventure


    What could Margaret Atwood have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Better story, adventure, air sick bag


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Made me car sick with her voice.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Nausea


    Any additional comments?

    It's so boring and the narrator is difficult to follow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Crystal Bluefield, VA, United States 10-29-13
    Crystal Bluefield, VA, United States 10-29-13 Member Since 2008

    Avid Reader and Listener.... enjoy classics, poetry, memoir. Teach College English.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well worth the credit!"

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this audio book. The narrator was very strong and her delivery help keep me interested. The story is a classic dystopian one written well before the genre became so popular. If you are female you will be interested and if you are a thinking male, you should enjoy it as well. And it has a terrific ending.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shelley Richmond, VA, United States 10-27-13
    Shelley Richmond, VA, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Bizarre & disturbing"
    Would you ever listen to anything by Margaret Atwood again?

    Doubtful


    What three words best describe Claire Danes’s voice?

    Depressing, desperate, hopeless


    Was The Handmaid's Tale worth the listening time?

    Not for me


    Any additional comments?

    This book just left me disturbed. The fact that someone could imagine a world in this horrible state of humankind put me in mind of The Holocaust.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christie chesterfield, VA, United States 10-19-13
    Christie chesterfield, VA, United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Every American shouldread this..great listen"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    Clare Danes does a great job with the feel of the book and fits the story. If a radical religion were to gain footing in our America, we would be in for such a shock. I loved this. What a great subject!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Hoschton, GA, United States 10-12-13
    Tammy Hoschton, GA, United States 10-12-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
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    "Amazing Narration"

    Wonderful writing and fabulous narration. What more can you ask for? I found this title through browsing the "Audible Essentials" If you haven't checked into these, you should. Every one of the audiobooks I have purchased from this list has been a winner! This is one of the best written books I have ever heard (or read).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison DENVER, CO, United States 10-10-13
    Allison DENVER, CO, United States 10-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "amazing"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Claire Danes is freeking amazing. The story is dark and wonderful. I can't believe they made us read this book in high school because it's so like... adult. I didn't get it then. Now I do (at age 39.) It's so awesome, highly recommended.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of-Fred of course. She breathes the story like it's right now.


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

    Claire Danes' voice if so amazing and her acting is just perfect. I am going to listen to this book a second time merely to experience her amazingness again.


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

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-04-13
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Watch the movie"

    Yes, I'm a book lover, but for this one I'd say Watch the Movie. Yes, the book is well-written, has a poetic turn of phrase and lots of description, if you like that kind of thing - but I don't. I guess I just like books that move a little faster with the plot. This one had way too much description for me. I saw the movie, and that was pretty much all plot. Also the author talked pretty slow so I listened to it at double speed. Fast forwarded through a lot and finally stopped listening. The plot itself is interesting if you can get to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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