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.
“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)
We all consider, at some point, what will become of us? I think this is why there are so many dystopian novels. (269 listed on Wikipedia.) And who doesn't love a good end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it story?
One thing that I find interesting about the dystopian novels I've read is, while they all have the common theme of oppression, each author brings their own unique vision to the stories. Not one of the novels I've read has been a copycat of any of the others. This one is no exception, although it did kind of remind me of 'The Children of Men', in so far as the inability to procreate is concerned.
I was kind of freaked out by how similar some aspects of the book were to things that are happening now. The increase in religious fervor, to be specific. As a woman, it made me ask myself, in the situation presented in the book, would I allow myself to be degraded and controlled, or would I give my life for the freedom of living on my own terms?
There were two things about this book that made me give it a high rating. First, I have a serious girl crush on Claire Danes. I remember her in 'My So-Called Life' back in MTV's good ol' days, and I have loved her ever since. Besides my creepy fascination in dystopian novels, she is the reason I listened to this book. The second thing is, the ending. I remember finishing 1984 and thinking, that can't be it! We must overcome the oppressors! But no. That's it for the characters in 1984. The same old fear. Not so in 'The Handmaid's Tale.' The ending gives hope that, no matter how bad things get, there is something better waiting on the other side.
This is a gripping story that pulls you in and keeps you focused from start to finish. The author's way of maintaining the first person perspective by way of their thought process as they recount their experiences makes you feel like you are in the story. It's very immersive! Claire Danes does a fabulous job of reading this book. She makes the character really come to life.
The ending was a complete surprise to me. I wanted more!
She was a perfect fit for this character. Her tones and pace were could not have been better. I could actually picture her in this role.
Incredibly descriptive, first-person style -extremely compelling performance by Claire Danes. Her narration was gritty, heartbreaking & so convincing that it depressed the hell out of me! Half way through I almost put it down but I felt compelled to finish the book because I admired the author's command of the language...& I had no idea where this tale would lead.
The story depicts a future world, ruled by Men - where women are either forced baby-makers, whores or expendable slaves of the state....no chance of making this subject matter more enjoyable.
Claire Danes gave a compelling voice to this lonely, nameless character . Much of the dialogue was a conversation with herself - which she did very convincingly. Her narration was spot on. It was the nature of the story that made this book hard to enjoy.
The book ends abruptly & you're left in "mid-air". I wish the epilog would have been more informative & not so "academic". This was the first book that I purchased without reading a review. I don't think I'll do that again!
I wouldn't listen to this again, even though I loved the story teller. I just didn't like the way the author wrapped it up. The story was very slow in some sections. Just wasn't the book for me.
She has an amazing voice and can make an ordinary story a little better.
I don't usually read or watch sci-fi stuff so this was a reach for me My daughter listed it on Goodreads so I gave it a try
The story line was great even though you really don't know the whole circumstance It was suspensefull sad frightning and believeable at the same time I would definately read more from this author
This was a good choice. I enjoyed the book, but did not like the ending. Another ending and I would have rated it a 4. Claire Danes did an excellent job narrating, part of the reason I chose this book.
We are RV'ers traveling the USA. I love Romance, Mysteries, and Thriller Novels. Good listening while on the road.
I have never read any of Margaret Atwood's novels. I don't think I will purchase anymore.
This was an interesting story I thought from the reviews. It was awful. I knew it was a far fetched story,, but it had no story. I fell asleep listening to this one. I couldn't keep my interest going and only did because of Claire Dane's Narration. She is wonderful.
I even tortured myself and listened to the last 30 minutes summing up this bizzare story.
Don't bother getting this one. Awful!!
This has been my favorite book since I read it the summer between 10th and 11th grade (almost 15 years ago). I've read it a half-dozen times since then and it gets better each time. Claire Danes' narrative does the book justice, and I fell in love with the story all over again.
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.
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.
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.
There wasn't a favorite. She was masterful with all.
Offred of course. She is the character through whom the story is told and through whom Margaret Atwood professes her best poetry.
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.
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