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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 (8193 )
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4.1 (7448 )
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4.5 (7412 )
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Performance
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  •  
    linda 08-05-15
    linda 08-05-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Pretentious tripe"

    This book makes my short list as one of the worst books I've ever read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeff L. Keehr Wixom, MI USA 08-04-15
    Jeff L. Keehr Wixom, MI USA 08-04-15 Member Since 2016

    maggiesda

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    "Good story :great reader."

    I am not a regular reader of science fiction so I am not a seasoned critic of the genre. But I like intelligent and suspenseful stories and this is certainly one of them. I think it belongs in the same class as 1984,though this story is a little less dark and less despairing. Atwood is a poet and her prose shows it;it's very easy on the ear. Danes renders the prose like the professional actress she is. I am currently considering another Atwood novel. That should tell you how I feel about this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanna Felger 08-03-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Really depressing."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Good for folks who like futuristic stuff.


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

    Added an adventurous escape.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Kept waiting for it. Totals waste of time and money.


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

    None- would've added more about her escape and finding her daughter.


    Any additional comments?

    I was hoping for something more uplifting, but it never came. It was depression upon depression. I'm sure that was her goal, but it simply didn't work for me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tracy Kay Griggs 07-30-15
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    "appealing but eclectic"

    liked it. Didn't love it. odd stilted telling. The nature of the story not a remark on the narration.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Alex Bejan 07-30-15
    Alex Bejan 07-30-15
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    "a book meant to be listen to narrated perfectly"

    It's a classic story, very well written, about a bleak future so plausible it gives you goosebumps. A first person lucid and emotional depiction of a woman's years as a sex slave in a society that gathers all the political historical evils - religious fundamentalism, Nazism, autocracy, collectivism, Inquisition, Holocaust, forced indoctrination, and much more. A book that had to wait 30 years for its encounter with Claire Danes, who makes it one of the best stories ever told. Her voice, vulnerable, yet strong and precise, ample and equal like a big river caries you in this long journey that is a hymn to freedom and resilience in front of the hardest adversity - that when the entire society turns against the individual.
    On a smaller scale, for me it was the best experience with an Audible book, or any other audio book (of which I listened to about 100+).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Bogosian Glendale, CA USA 07-29-15
    David Bogosian Glendale, CA USA 07-29-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Dark, disturbing, but brilliantly read"

    Claire Danes does a fantastic job in reading this book. She's in turns hysterical, majestic, terrified, determined, etc., and completely convincing at all of them. She doesn't try to masculinize the male characters' voices, but it isn't needed.

    The book itself is a mixed bag. It's a horrible vision of a world gone crazy and as such gets to be a little disturbing after a while. There is no plot for the first quarter of the book, but then it starts to get going. The epilogue salvaged this from a 2 to a 3-star, and it's absolutely brilliant plus it makes some sense out of the preceding narrative. The writing is jerky, never eloquent, mostly pedestrian; there are few linguistic flourishes to lighten the mood, but perhaps that was a deliberate tactic. But the book does raise some important issues about not taking our liberties for granted.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Hoffman 07-28-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Sci-fi Parable of Relationships"

    This book is a study in relationships, power, and sexuality in a dystopian society. The setting is the near future where man has polluted the planet so much that fertility rates are extremely low. Young women are forced into subservient domestic roles to keep the society from dying off. I found it thought provoking because the female protagonist has to negotiate the reality of a society that has backslid form the progress of twentieth century feminism. She has to make decisions to balance her short term and long term sanity very similar to women today but with a little more constraints and drama.
    The narration and story were great. The story got only 4 stars because the ending was somewhat anti-climatic but acceptable for a parable type story.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark 07-28-15
    Mark 07-28-15 Member Since 2011
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    "Strong writing, excellent narration!"

    Engaging from the first sentence, the story kept moving. The author holds back just enough information to maintain suspense.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 07-26-15
    Lynn 07-26-15

    I'm a serial audible reader. Since I walk 20 miles a week, I listen 20 miles a week! It's great to be able to listen to so many books :)

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    "Sobering"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    Baffling and sobering


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

    The summaries at the end made it all come into focus for me. I didn't really understand what was going on until I heard the scientific descriptions after the fact in the epilogue. The sobering part was realizing that all the handmaid went through was really just a few years of a "regime" that was short lived in the scheme of things.

    I take things too literal, as I see so much of this happening in today's politics. When will this sort of thing begin in our world? or has it already started?


    Which character – as performed by Claire Danes – was your favorite?

    The main character. I loved her insights and the things she resisted remembering. Like she never ever mentions or remembers her daughter's name.


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

    Like I said before, the epilogue was the most poignant. To see history through hindsight is very thought provoking.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda L DeCotes 07-26-15 Member Since 2015
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    "interesting read, however I was disappointed"

    I was hooked from the beginning, however as I kept listening I was becoming bored with her repetitive situation. I kept hoping for something more exciting to happen..and it never came. The lack of a conclusive ending was disapointing but overall I'm glad I chose it. I loved Claire Danes as the narrator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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