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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

4.1 (4782 )
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4.4 (4294 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Shelley Richmond, VA, United States 10-27-13
    Shelley Richmond, VA, United States 10-27-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Bizarre & disturbing"
    Would you ever listen to anything by Margaret Atwood again?

    Doubtful


    What three words best describe Claire Danes’s voice?

    Depressing, desperate, hopeless


    Was The Handmaid's Tale worth the listening time?

    Not for me


    Any additional comments?

    This book just left me disturbed. The fact that someone could imagine a world in this horrible state of humankind put me in mind of The Holocaust.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christie chesterfield, VA, United States 10-19-13
    Christie chesterfield, VA, United States 10-19-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Every American shouldread this..great listen"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    Clare Danes does a great job with the feel of the book and fits the story. If a radical religion were to gain footing in our America, we would be in for such a shock. I loved this. What a great subject!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tammy Hoschton, GA, United States 10-12-13
    Tammy Hoschton, GA, United States 10-12-13 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    4
    1
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    Story
    "Amazing Narration"

    Wonderful writing and fabulous narration. What more can you ask for? I found this title through browsing the "Audible Essentials" If you haven't checked into these, you should. Every one of the audiobooks I have purchased from this list has been a winner! This is one of the best written books I have ever heard (or read).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison DENVER, CO, United States 10-10-13
    Allison DENVER, CO, United States 10-10-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    10
    3
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    "amazing"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Claire Danes is freeking amazing. The story is dark and wonderful. I can't believe they made us read this book in high school because it's so like... adult. I didn't get it then. Now I do (at age 39.) It's so awesome, highly recommended.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Of-Fred of course. She breathes the story like it's right now.


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

    Claire Danes' voice if so amazing and her acting is just perfect. I am going to listen to this book a second time merely to experience her amazingness again.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-04-13
    Deborah Ham Lake, MN, United States 10-04-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Watch the movie"

    Yes, I'm a book lover, but for this one I'd say Watch the Movie. Yes, the book is well-written, has a poetic turn of phrase and lots of description, if you like that kind of thing - but I don't. I guess I just like books that move a little faster with the plot. This one had way too much description for me. I saw the movie, and that was pretty much all plot. Also the author talked pretty slow so I listened to it at double speed. Fast forwarded through a lot and finally stopped listening. The plot itself is interesting if you can get to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan JUNEAU, AK, United States 09-29-13
    Ryan JUNEAU, AK, United States 09-29-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    7
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    "Claire Danes does great"

    Claire Danes just does a fantastic job with this - brings the character and story to life. Only wish there was more to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Yergeau Coventry, RI USA 09-27-13
    Kathy Yergeau Coventry, RI USA 09-27-13 Member Since 2005
    ratings
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    247
    3
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    Performance
    Story
    "Review the summary first!"
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    The reader is very 1 note and brings no emotion to the a very tedious story, takes awhile for the story to unfold in a very depressing time. I could only get 4hrs of the story and I couldn't bring myself to go back to it.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    depressing


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Courtney Rummel TOMS RIVER, NJ, US 09-25-13
    Courtney Rummel TOMS RIVER, NJ, US 09-25-13 Member Since 2014

    I love Audible!

    ratings
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    17
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    "Unusual and Smart"

    I'm glad I finally listened to this book because it is so unique. I am a fan of Claire Danes but I wasn't really fond of her performance here.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michelle Jones 09-24-13
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    "Very Good Story Performed Exceedingly Well"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    Yes. As the storyline unrolls there are many intriguing conventions in this future society that are explained by the main character who transitioned the old ways to the new. Nicely done.


    What did you like best about this story?

    While the story itself was very good, Ms. Danes delivery was very much the icing on the cake.


    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but I would be eager to do so.


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

    The main character was the most memorable because the story unfolds around her, although the Commander was interesting as well.


    Any additional comments?

    Thank you ,Audible, for arranging for Ms. Danes to perform for us.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Camille ODENTON, MD, United States 09-24-13
    Camille ODENTON, MD, United States 09-24-13 Member Since 2013

    Social sci-fi, vampires, and modern detective thrillers, oh my!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Unforgettable"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    Yes. The book evoked so many emotions from disgust to shock to relate-ability.


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

    I honestly have never read another book like this. It has the same dystopian premise as many other books but I would say that the culture is more severe than The Hunger Games. I haven't read another dystopian book that had a society that was so religiously motivated.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The scene where Offred and Ofglen revealed their true thoughts to one another and the scene where the Commander takes Offred out. I didn't know what to expect.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Yes, neither though. This book was very thought provoking.


    Any additional comments?

    I really can't help wanting to know more about Offred.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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