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The Handmaid's Tale Audiobook

The Handmaid's Tale

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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.

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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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Sort by:
  •  
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 03-09-14
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 03-09-14 Member Since 2001

    deafsetter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No purpose, no ending"

    Narrator did an excellent job. But other than that? I just didn't get it. There was no ending, nor purpose. Just a sort of diary of the handmaid and what a depressing, restricted, hopeless life she has. No closure. I was 1/2 through the audio book when it switched to "part 2". I considered quitting, but the rave reviews pushed me onward. Nope, don't get it. A total waste of time.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dee Mack 10-08-12
    Dee Mack 10-08-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A Must Read Tale for Our Times"

    Clare Danes gave the Handmade credibility. I believed an intelligent young female might accept the dystopic circumstances of this novel in order to survive and overcome the craziness she faces. When the book was finished I immediately searched for Margaret Atwood's other books and more from Clare Dains.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Bolton, MA, United States 09-12-12
    Patti Bolton, MA, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2014

    i buy at least one hundred books a year. of all types. just want a good story with a good reader. not so complicated.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I have waited for a long time for this book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This may be one of my favorite books of all time. Been asking Audible for it for years. I would highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale to everyone who loves books. So well written.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing. The writing. The narration. The narration.


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

    I can't find anything else she has read. Would listen to anything that she has though. Just told a friend that she is one of best narrators I have heard.


    If you could take any character from The Handmaid's Tale out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably Of Fred. And I don't really know why. I found her so multidimensional that it would be interesting to ask her questions.


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2015
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    "I'm glad I have this audiobook a chance."

    I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school and was not a great fan. But I love Claire Danes so I tried the audiobook, 12 years later. She does a great job making Offred's voice come to life. Maybe it was her narration, or maybe that I'm a bit closer to Offred's age now, but it is a good book and worth the download.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    keasha 04-07-13
    keasha 04-07-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "This was tough to get through"

    Hard to finish. Kept waiting for something other than physical description after physical description. If not for Claire Danes, I couldnt have finished it. Was so glad by the time it was done. The ending dragged on and on and on.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 12-28-12
    JOHN Plantation, FL, United States 12-28-12 Member Since 2003

    Audible Member Since 2003

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    "One of My Favorites from Margaret Atwood"

    I have long looked for this title on Audible and was very pleased when it finally arrived. The story is told in the first person and Claire Danes performs it perfectly with the voice, I believe, that the author intended when she wrote this story.
    The progression of the Tale is gradual and engaging, requiring the reader/listener to gather up bits of of carefully placed images and information to put together the picture of this repressive nation. Imagine the Taliban in control of the US government and one gets an idea of the society described in this story. It is very interesting to me that Ms Atwood wrote this book in 1985, long before the world became acquainted with the Taliban, as some of the images are eerily reminiscent of some of their tactics witnessed on TV after the 9/11 attacks.
    The Handmaid's Tale comes to a conclusion and the book wraps up with a brilliant epilogue, answering many questions in a surprising and unique fashion.
    Certainly not a happy story nor action-packed, but nonetheless wonderful and captivating. Claire Danes' performance is flawless.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Katie Roe Seattle, WA USA 04-10-15
    Katie Roe Seattle, WA USA 04-10-15 Member Since 2013

    I don't mind the long commute anymore. Sometimes I even drive around town just to get to place I can stop.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Incredible book and incredibly disturbing"

    I read this book my senior year in college. It was so disturbing, I had to call a friend at 2am to talk about it. She read it and did the same to me. I took it on a trip to Thailand with a dozen other students and every one of them read it and we had talks about it after each one finished it. It is a thought provoking book that seems far too plausible. I think it should be a must read for every high school or college student.

    Since that first read in 1987, I have reread it a dozen times. When I joined Audible I asked for it, several times and was happy when they got it. It continues to be one of the best books I have ever read or listened to. I can't recommend it highly enough!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer minneapolis, MN, United States 10-09-14
    Jennifer minneapolis, MN, United States 10-09-14 Member Since 2011

    audio book junkie

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "As good today as it was when I read it in high-sch"

    Margaret Atwood created a new world. A dark world, a dreary world, a world where the lower class is unbelievably oppressed and the upper-class quietly miserable albeit powerful. I love when books transport your into an imaginary world and The Handmaid's Tale does just that. It's a great 'What if' story; 'What if' women lost all of their rights? 'What if' a small, conservative group of men made all the decisions... 'What if'?

    There is an element of dis-satisfaction in the ending of this novel but books don't always need to be neatly wrapped up... sometimes a descriptive moment in time is enough.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Reader 05-01-14
    Reader 05-01-14 Member Since 2011
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    "First A-List read and loved it!"
    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Claire Dannes did a wonderful job! I have avoided the A-List because I enjoy the "professionals" that do so well reading Dickens, Tolstoy, Martin, etc. I wasn't sure if the crossover from screen acting would translate into interesting narration. It clearly does.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the story, and the performance made it even more disturbing (in a good way). I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 02-27-14
    brenty United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Surreal yet familiar"

    Incredibly well written, but I am not sure I would have enjoyed this book as much without the fantastic narration.

    With the feel of "The Road" meets "1984" meets "Children of Men" (all of which I enjoyed), this was more a journal than it was a story with a beginning, middle, and end.

    I'm not sure I would read this again, but I am glad that I did. Well worth my time.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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