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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 (8951 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Georgia Burns Atlanta GA 12-25-12
    Georgia Burns Atlanta GA 12-25-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Too Believable Look Into One Possible Future"
    Any additional comments?

    It's a man's world and women are just it's useful by-products. Let them read? Certainly not. It might give them ideas. Allow them to converse? Even worse. Reproductive vehicles are their only value in this sterile future. Margaret Atwood creates a chilling world brought to life through the eyes of one handmaid, a quaint euphemism for "baby factory". Her terror, her frustration, her despair are vividly portrayed through the facile voice of the very talented Claire Danes. I feared the familiarity of her voice would be a distraction but she totally inhabits this fully realized character as well as the various voices of the other men and women in this frightening "tale". It could never really happen, right?

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-29-13
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

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    "Heart-wrenchingly good"

    The story and writing are impeccable. But I was even more impressed by Claire Danes' interpretation.

    There is a point in Danes' performance in which the main character is sharing a cigarette with a friend where Danes laughs and blows imaginary smoke out of the side of her mouth. This simple but attentive improvisational detail underscores the genius of her craft and the commitment she has to the material. A spectacular bit of work that would be degraded by calling it a reading.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Abstractchick 12-21-12

    Teaching Artist

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    "A Surprie of a story"

    This was on my 100 books to read in my lifetime and I didn't know what to expect with the story. It is an interesting tale about an alternate society. I was surprised how good the book was, but the reading was wonderful. Claire Danes did an exceptional narration and it is one I would listen to again.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonya Phoenix, Arizona, United States 12-26-12
    Tonya Phoenix, Arizona, United States 12-26-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent narrator for an Excellet book!"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Handmaid's Tale is very near the top of the audiobooks I've listened to.


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

    Far too many to share, and my memorable moments tend to be spoilers.


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

    Unlike most audiobook productions, Claire Danes chose to read the book to us. It isn't a dramatization. She is just such an excellent voice and is able to form a unique tie between reader and story.


    Any additional comments?

    Gripping story, couldn't turn it off.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 11-13-12
    Margaret 11-13-12
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    "Good fiction that makes you think"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is definitely in the top 20% of the books I've listened to with Audible. The story is engaging and really makes you think about the consequences of some things going on in the world today. This certainly isn't a feel good book - but it's worth the time to push yourself to think through some challenging topics.


    What did you like best about this story?

    I liked that the background of the story really wasn't explained until the end - exactly the opposite of most stories but I thought it worked well. This format really kept you guessing as to what happened in the world to lead to this terrifying society.

    Also - Claire Danes was fantastic as the narrarator. I'm not as picky as some about narration but she's one of the best that I've heard.


    Any additional comments?

    Definitley worth a credit

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2015
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    "I'm glad I have this audiobook a chance."

    I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school and was not a great fan. But I love Claire Danes so I tried the audiobook, 12 years later. She does a great job making Offred's voice come to life. Maybe it was her narration, or maybe that I'm a bit closer to Offred's age now, but it is a good book and worth the download.

    14 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 09-24-12
    Susan 09-24-12

    This is my granddaughter's picture! She is my love.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unexpected Treasure"

    I'd heard about this book from another source. Here I read the summary and wasn't sure I would like it. After it started, I still wasn't sure because I couldn't really understand what was happening, but I kept listening. Before long I was hooked. This was one of the best stories I've heard, the best reader and I was overall very happy with this unusual story. Be careful what you ask for, you may get it! But you have to hear this story! The Handmaid's Tale will stay with you for a long long time.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peggy 10-01-12
    Peggy 10-01-12
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    "Great story by an even greater reader!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    Yes...Claire Danes certainly out reads me!!


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

    Of course, ""Hunger Games" comes first to mind...but so does "The Chose One" and I put it on par with Kate Winslet's reading of "Terez Raquin" in narrative quality and twisted romance!


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

    Her perfect pitch of dead emotion with pleading description. You can see her in the part and it feels like a block buster film.


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

    Both the main character (Offred) and her true love. I'm sure they'd have stories to tell!


    Any additional comments?

    Not to be missed! Should be on A-list, if it isn't already!!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Perkins San Jose, CA USA 09-11-12
    S. Perkins San Jose, CA USA 09-11-12
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    "Gripping story with a pitch-perfect narrator"

    What an amazing experience to listen to the performance of this book. The story was sad, hopeless, and agonizing, but also gripping and well told. Claire Danes does an excellent job of portraying Offred (we never learn her real name). Highly recommend!

    8 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 03-23-13
    Diane 03-23-13
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    "Outstanding narration/disappointing story"
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    I've listened to more than 150 books, but I have never listened to one where I appreciated the talent of the narrator tremendously but disliked the story more. Because of the other reviews, I kept waiting for the story to get better. It didn't. The ending was the worst. Claire Dane's narration was the only good thing about it.


    12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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