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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 (5229 )
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4.4 (4692 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Lisa Charlotte, NC, United States 11-15-13
    Lisa Charlotte, NC, United States 11-15-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Loved it!"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is not a book that I would typically get, actually got it because it was a daily deal. I have been enthralled with this book.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    Claire Dane's was an excellent narrator - I cannot say enough about her believability and how it felt like an intimate conversation with her. Awesome.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stella Bolingbrook, IL, United States 11-07-13
    Stella Bolingbrook, IL, United States 11-07-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Clear as mud - boring as it gets!"

    Unable to hold my attention, boring, confusing and didn't lead to anything in the first 11 chapters - I had to force myself to continue to listen, give the book a chance to get better. Total fail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie FREDERICK, OK, United States 11-05-13
    Julie FREDERICK, OK, United States 11-05-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Couldn't stop listening"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    I can't listen to it again for a while. Frightening. Deeply moving.


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

    Claire Danes is the perfect narrator. I pictured her portraying the character throughout. Steel-faced.


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

    Yes, I finished in two days.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carri Norton Shores, MI, United States 11-04-13
    Carri Norton Shores, MI, United States 11-04-13 Member Since 2013

    Storyteller, reading teacher, author...when it comes to stories/books, it's my vice and I have unashamedly made addicts of my entire family!

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    "Could put an insomniac to sleep!"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is for dried up old prunes who have no sex life and resent others who do. I would also think it would appeal to anyone with misogynistic attitudes. It might even have appeal for atheists with strong anti-religion leanings. Basically a book for people who like to hate others. I found the entire concept of the book obscene.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Time to Kill by Grisham. It would be pleasant to go from a plotless, shallow character book with no ending to a master storyteller like Grisham.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Claire Danes ought to be taken to the "colonies" as she proved no worth as a narrator. She read with a strange cadence that became monotonous. There was no emotion in her voice. There is no other way to describe it but lackluster and boring.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    The prologue was very interesting. It was too bad the context was added at the end. The book would have been better if Atwood had created the entire text within the context of the researchers so the reader understood the story better.


    Any additional comments?

    The author craftily depicts the vulgar and obscene without actually stating the obvious. As a reader it made me feel in collusion with the vulgarity and that was offensive to me.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christina United States 11-03-13
    Christina United States 11-03-13 Member Since 2013

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A gripping, haunting distopian tale"

    Claire Danes does an unsurprising but still amazing job at reading this classic science fiction novel. The story may seem slow in the beginning, but the introspective start provides an important canvas for the muted despair and life of grey dullness inhabited by the main character, who serves as a breeding vessel for the privileged few.

    Even with the quieter start, Danes' talented reading kept me glued in. The novel progresses to reveal a complex and damaged society that struggles under its rich facade of religion.

    "The Handmaid's Tale" is an interesting look at the role of women in society, extremism in religion and the subjection of the underclass, and I highly recommend it. The theme of this book is one that has stayed with me, which is to me the mark of a great book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce Fort Mill, SC, United States 11-01-13
    Joyce Fort Mill, SC, United States 11-01-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Narration"
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

    I tried to read this book several times and when I saw Clair Danes was reading it, I downloaded it. She should do more books, I love her voice. It is like listening to a song. My hats off to Margaret Atwood, a great writer, that I have read so often. Brilliant plot and story. I loved "The Blind Assassin" and wish she would have stuck with this style instead of Science Fiction. Anyway, she still is great and I admire her very much.

    Audible should get Danes to do more reading, she is the best women reader that I have listened to. What a performance!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Claire Danes


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

    No, but if she does anymore books, I certainly will.


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

    It was sad, but could happen. We don't know what the future holds. I still like "The Blind Assassin" more. This happens in peoples lives all the time and was a deep and thoughtful story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amanda United States 11-01-13
    Amanda United States 11-01-13
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    "Great Performance"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Claire Danes does a great job with the narration. Though the voices of different characters weren't varied so much, her pace and emotion when reading make it easy for a listener to become involved in the story.


    Would you recommend The Handmaid's Tale to your friends? Why or why not?

    The story itself was not my favorite, yet it's a dystopia so it's not going to be all "sunshine and fairytales." The events in this book were thought-provoking, which is why I would recommend this book to others.


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

    I've never heard Claire Danes narrate any other books. Unlike other audiobooks, I can't think of anything about her voice, accent or any other sort of nuances that annoyed me or distracted me from the story. I would like Claire to narrate more books.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kitty 11-01-13
    Kitty 11-01-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Plodding and Bloated."

    I really wanted to like this book a lot more than I did.

    While the story certainly has some worthy aspects, I found the pace to be plodding and the narrative, overall, to be rather self-indulgent.

    I feel that the same book could have been condensed into a much shorter length while still conveying all the crucial thematic elements. As it stands, it suffers from a great deal of bloat, in my opinion.

    The premise is gripping, and the author does an excellent job of getting across to the reader the idea that this bleak future, or one like it, is all too plausible. It did make me stop and think about the many things that we take for granted every day that are nearly so securely entrenched in our lives as we tend to think they are.

    However, the tendency of the POV character to describe a scene, then stop and inform the reader that it "didn't really happen like that" or that the scene was a "reconstruction", was jarring. Each time this happened I found myself pulled out of the story in a very unpleasant manner.

    I found myself fidgeting and waiting for the actual meat of the story (some kind of actual plot) to begin. Eventually I realized that there wasn't any meat to be had, and sort of resigned myself to suffering through the rest of the book in hopes that there would be some redeeming quality in the ending, especially since this seems to be an extremely well-reviewed book. In the end I was disappointed.

    The narration was good, but nothing out of the ordinary as far as I am concerned.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura tampa, fl 11-01-13
    Laura tampa, fl 11-01-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Wow!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    I've read both and enjoyed them both immensely. However, Claire Dane's narration was great. She was apathetic, angry, and tragic with barely a change in her voice. It was well done.


    What about Claire Danes’s performance did you like?

    I am currently living away from my husband due to our jobs and listening to Claire Danes talk about missing her husband and human touch really resonated with me. It was as if she felt everything I was feeling (except hopefully slightly more dramatic!)


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

    Yes!


    Any additional comments?

    Very interesting content overall and a very terrifying thought with religious zealots from my parts of the world. Very sensationalized, but also relevant. Very highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Margaret 11-01-13
    Margaret 11-01-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing story!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! It's awesome!


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

    Claire Danes is awesome! Fantastic reader!


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

    This book is rich with emotion and super thought provoking?


    Any additional comments?

    One of my favs!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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