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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Jeannie United States 03-07-13
    Jeannie United States 03-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Glad to be a woman of our time!"

    It's books like this that start me preaching to my daughter that we should be thankful to be a woman today and in the US. While the premise is a bit forced you can see where there are parallels to what women around the world face today. I think we always feel like life will get better in the future, this shows us another outcome.

    Overall I enjoyed the story itself. By midway I wasn't sure how many more similes I could listen to. Everything was compared to something else. I wonder if I would have reacted differently to reading it in print versus hearing it.

    Claire Danes did a great job reading the story. I would listen to her perform again on a different book. I loved when she would break into the "Aunt" voice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eric Olympia, WA, United States 03-05-13
    Eric Olympia, WA, United States 03-05-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Immensely moving -- wonderfully performed."
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

    How clear and lyrical the story was and how truthfully it was performed. I thought early-on in the story "this is beautifully poetic." It was no surprise to later find out that Atwood indeed is a poet.


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

    I don't know of other books to which this compares though it did make me think of "Children of Men" probably more for it's dystopian feminism.


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

    There wasn't a favorite. She was masterful with all.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Handmaid's Tale and why?

    Offred of course. She is the character through whom the story is told and through whom Margaret Atwood professes her best poetry.


    Any additional comments?

    I'm really glad that Atwood wrote this story and I cannot believe it took me this long to listen to it. The book really blew me away. I moved through dread, terror, and hope many times. Listening to It was a stark experience and sometimes evoked really powerful emotions. As a guy, I really appreciated the story and the feminist perspective.

    I cannot imagine that this story would have been as emotive and fully developed had it not been read by Claire Danes. She was magnificent! I had heard of her but never really had been exposed to her work. I am glad I was through this book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 03-04-13
    Bev Alton, IL, USA 03-04-13 Member Since 2003
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    "Strong and Wrenching"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Loved this story. The protagonist is so filled with memories and pain... as are all the women she's surrounded by. Beautifully narrated by Claire Danes, in an almost monotone, which is so fitting for the story. In that time and that place monotone was the only way to be.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nate Drexel Hill, PA, United States 03-04-13
    nate Drexel Hill, PA, United States 03-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Troubling"

    Just one of those books that you have to read and discus with others, about it it's relevance to our current life and times

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lauren Fitchburg, WI, United States 03-01-13
    Lauren Fitchburg, WI, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2012
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    "A Wonderful Voice Telling an Incredible Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    Yes, I think Claire Danes did an absolutely incredible job narrating this story. I would love for her to narrate more books!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patricia A. Cross Cortland, NY, US 03-01-13
    Patricia A. Cross Cortland, NY, US 03-01-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Classic worthy of another listen"

    What can I say. I liked this. I could picture Clair Danes as the Handmaid. It was wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tara Norfolk, VA, United States 03-01-13
    Tara Norfolk, VA, United States 03-01-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Fantastic - even the second time around"

    I read this book years ago and now listened to it on a long trip. The story is fascinating and has subtle and not so subtle references to our own time. I enjoy alternate histories and this book never fails to deliver.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mariah Riverside, CA, United States 02-27-13
    Mariah Riverside, CA, United States 02-27-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Wonderful"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    captivating dystopian novel


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

    Claire Danes does a wonderful job narrating the story. She really acts out the part, and you feel so connected to the main character


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steffie Texas 02-25-13
    Steffie Texas 02-25-13
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    "Stunning"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Still my favorite. I began my Audible listening experience with THT, and I have to say, so far nothing has lived up to it. Claire Danes' performance is worthy of some kind of award, I feel. The story is chilling on its own, but Danes nails the characters' emotions and shines in the interior monologue. For those who have reviewed this poorly, it is clear from the comments that they don't understand the story. THT is a classic dystopian novel with brilliant description and a true sense of moral struggle, not a crime thriller or a fifty shades (gasp). I typically listen to audible books on my daily walks - this one was so hard to put down that I lost 5 pounds in a week. Happy listening.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Temecula, CA 02-24-13
    Amazon Customer Temecula, CA 02-24-13 Member Since 2012

    I am a high school American Sign Language teacher. Ph.D in multicultural Education. Married, 2 grown daughters.

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    "couldn't get through it."
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    Hard to listen to and couldn't get into what was going on.


    Any additional comments?

    I can't even answer the questions. I was bored from the beginning trying to make sense of it. I just stopped.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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