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)
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+).
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.
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.
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 :)
Baffling and sobering
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?
The main character. I loved her insights and the things she resisted remembering. Like she never ever mentions or remembers her daughter's name.
Like I said before, the epilogue was the most poignant. To see history through hindsight is very thought provoking.
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.
Horse trainer by day, super hero by night, book lover all the time.
Despite brainwashing, the women of the story cling to their last posession: memories.
Shock, relief, and a craving for more detail. It was the perfect ending to this novel
Offred has a wonderful voice, tinged with sarcasm.
No. Although I enjoyed it, it had its slow moments. It worked well as a device in the story, but made it plodding at times.
Not the typical "end of the world" story. I was slightly disappointed in societies overall apathy
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.