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.
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©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)
Say something about yourself!
Atwood's Tale is a classic. In a not too distant future (it was published in 1985), parts are the United States are controlled by a quasi-religious, quasi-military totalitarian faction that gained power after some unknown catastrophe. Vague references to nuclear fallout suggest the catastrophe was the bad result of an nuclear arms race but the ultimate result was to render much of the population infertile. As a result, fertile women, like the book's protagonist "Offred," have been pressed into service as a walking womb, doomed to bare children for the powers until she goes barren and then is discarded.
Atwood's glory is her portrayal of the hypocrisy of the "Gilead" government, best scene in the brothel that Offred visits with the general.
Dane's performance is poignant.
I would be very very hesitant to read another book by this author. I thought that the author was written about the the 1940's but then realized the setting and period of time was Damn If I Know. Unfornately, I thought if I kept reading it would clear the muddy water but the water just got to smell like a rotten bucket of old fish. I think I will ask for my money back on this one. Spent a lot of time disappointed, confused and wasted.
I need some beach book listening from Nora Roberts.
I love reading realistic books from the 1600's, 1700's etc and leaning about the past through entertaining books but this book not only missed the mark it couldn't find the mark.
Frustration, confusion and discomfort were the perdominate feelings I felt.
I normally don't enjoy dystopian books and I regret listening to this one. It was depressing and sickening. I'm a fan of Homeland but Claire Danes is not an especially good narrator.
I enjoyed parts of the story, but found it annoyingly vague. I don't think I have read anything else by this author, so this could be typical of her. I like stories neatly tied up at the end and this certainly wasn't.
When this book first cam out I decided to skip it. It is not really science fiction -- just a weak "alternative future" tale. But I have been listening to the news lately and in many places religious fanatics are kidnapping women and girls and forcing them into unwanted marriages. This tale has become all too real. So I decided to give this book a try.
It is a good "listen" and I am glad I spent time with it. The voice of the protagonist describes a thuggish takeover of part of the US by a group of right wing religious Christians. It is a military state -- ethnically cleansed and at constant war with all the non-believers. It is a nightmare dystopia where dissidents are murdered outright and everyone must conform to the religious standards in word and deed. Sounds a lot like ISIS -- although this book was written well before
The narrator is a woman who's husband and daughter have "disappeared". Because of very low fertility rates, she has been trained as a "handmaiden" and assigned to one of the leading politicians. Her job is to produce a child for the commander's wife. In this society, all women are completely subjugated to the service of men. They are not allowed to read or write or live or work on their own. They wear veils. Unmarried men are kept away. Men are only awarded wives when they complete military service.
It is already happening all over the world. Could it happen here?
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