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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 (4242 )
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4.4 (3823 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Just. Freaking. Bizarre."

    Sorry, but this book was too weird to even try to put into words. So why, you ask, would I listen to the book in its entirety? The superb narration by Claire Danes. If Audible does not have her under contract, shame on them! She was perfect - the only reason to stay with this wacky tale.

    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
  •  
    Peggy 10-01-12
    Peggy 10-01-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great story by an even greater reader!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Handmaid's Tale to be better than the print version?

    Yes...Claire Danes certainly out reads me!!


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

    Of course, ""Hunger Games" comes first to mind...but so does "The Chose One" and I put it on par with Kate Winslet's reading of "Terez Raquin" in narrative quality and twisted romance!


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

    Her perfect pitch of dead emotion with pleading description. You can see her in the part and it feels like a block buster film.


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

    Both the main character (Offred) and her true love. I'm sure they'd have stories to tell!


    Any additional comments?

    Not to be missed! Should be on A-list, if it isn't already!!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Perkins San Jose, CA USA 09-11-12
    S. Perkins San Jose, CA USA 09-11-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Gripping story with a pitch-perfect narrator"

    What an amazing experience to listen to the performance of this book. The story was sad, hopeless, and agonizing, but also gripping and well told. Claire Danes does an excellent job of portraying Offred (we never learn her real name). Highly recommend!

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Higgins 09-07-12
    Pat Higgins 09-07-12 Member Since 2006
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    "Wow!"

    I read this book back when it came out in the 80's and liked it very much. I saw a lot of correlations at the time with the women's movement and drew connections to the late sixties and early seventies when I was coming of age. It has been almost 30 years since that reading, but a true classic brings something new to every re-reading.
    Now I find that, like all good literature, it adapts and applies itself to each new period. When I began this re-reading I remembered the gist of the story and, along with other Atwood books that I have read, the quality of the writing. I did not expect to be blown away with connections to our current times. Money became obsolete and replaced by the card- no biggie. The environmental and even nuclear destruction elements are a common plot line. A bloody coup by duplicitous, ultraconservative, far right, religious fundamentalists that replace the US government with a monotheistic totalitarian society and then proceed to dumb down all thought by or opportunity for the populace? And they pinned the blame for that demise of the US government on the Muslim countries! And that's just the beginning. Wow!

    Obviously, I give this book 5 stars across the board. Claire Danes does a fine job reading this book. She sounds the part and performs perfectly with all the necessary nuance and inflection. A great rendition! I'll look for more from her and will start re-reading Atwood's other works as well.

    13 of 16 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

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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
  •  
    Deborah 05-18-13
    Deborah 05-18-13
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    "A Tale Well-Told and Well-Narrated"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the best I've listened to. Danes did an excellent job of reading and the story was perfectly suited to be read aloud.


    Any additional comments?

    I look forward to listening to more narrations by Danes and more A-List performances.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul FAYETTEVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 04-16-13
    Paul FAYETTEVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 04-16-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Great story brought to life with perfect narration"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    Dark, poetic, and thought provoking


    What did you like best about this story?

    Well written and thought provoking


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

    Her narration brought the story to life


    If you could rename The Handmaid's Tale, what would you call it?

    What comes next


    Any additional comments?

    Great story

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine San Diego, CA 04-14-13
    Catherine San Diego, CA 04-14-13 Member Since 2011

    Catroy

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    "Great Story Made Greater by Claire Danes"

    Although not a sci-fi enthusiast, this book was so well written and performed that I was hooked from the first chapter. And stayed hooked all the way through the epilogue. Entertaining, and not too far fetched. Could this happen to us?

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    keasha 04-07-13
    keasha 04-07-13 Member Since 2013
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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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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