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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.

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

4.2 (8431 )
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4.1 (7658 )
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4.5 (7622 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    brenty United States 02-27-14
    brenty United States 02-27-14 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Claire Danes + this novel = WOW"

    Clare Danes was BRILLIANT narrating this story and what a story it is. I cannot recommend this tale enough and I was left wanting to know what happens next at the end of the story. The majority of the characters are loathsome and the main character, Offred, is so frustratingly naive that it breaks your heart.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 05-29-13
    Ashton Mishima-gun, Japan 05-29-13 Member Since 2013
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    "A hard topic handled artfully."
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    This book is iconic and cuts to the core.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Handmaid's Tale?

    The moments of inhuman cruelty. Obvious poetic skill and ease of description of environments.


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

    No but I was impressed by her skill although to be fair most of the story is in the first person so relatively easy compared to other stories. Her voice is well suited to the main character.


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

    I don't think this story is about the characters really, it's more about the situation.


    Any additional comments?

    The story reminds me of a story called "Blindness" by José Saramago. Blindness is a more rounded story with points of joy and hope unlike this story which is mostly bleak and overly realistic.

    I skipped the last section as it was too academic to be interesting, more like an extended footnote.

    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
  •  
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 05-04-13
    Kim Spokane, WA, United States 05-04-13 Member Since 2009

    Addicted to audiobooks & podcasts. 5 Stars=I Loved It, 4 Stars=Enjoyed it Thoroughly, 3=Kinda Good, 2=Bad/Boring, 1=Complete Waste of Credit

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    "Just OK"

    With so many positive reviews and my newfound appreciation for the author's works, I expected the handmaid's tale to be an easy 'A'. I give it a C- overall. I thought Claire Danes did a decent job of narrating the story - her portrayal of the main character is what kept me from giving up 3/4 of the way through. The story hovered on the surface of the world changed by war and disease - society has rebuilt itself but there is no explanation of what really happened. The vague descriptions resulted in never having enough to really take hold of the reader - I felt like I was only being given half the story and the ending left many questions unanswered.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul FAYETTEVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 04-16-13
    Paul FAYETTEVILLE, NEW YORK, United States 04-16-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
  •  
    Lori United States 03-07-13
    Lori United States 03-07-13 Member Since 2006
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    "In a word...Disturbing"

    I cant say I hated this book, but I finished it and felt sad. I did however finish it in two days, so it was interesting. It was not wrapped up as well as you wish it would be in the end, sort of a gone with the wind finish...you find yourself making up what might of happened after the end.
    It did have some negative religious undertones, and I am a Christian but it was not too offensive. It was difficult to listen to as a mother of a five year old girl, there were parts where I wept thinking about being forcibly separated from my daughter.
    I gave this book a 4 since I was interested in it till the end, even though the subject matter was difficult. I would recommend this book if you interested in thinking about the "what if's" of a dystopian society. Truthfully, if we look at some of the things we as a society of people have done to each other in the past this scenario is not so far fetched.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    L.W. 01-20-13
    L.W. 01-20-13

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Reviewers said "Must Read" so I read...."

    Caire Danes was wonderful.
    Prepare to be depressed...upset....appalled.
    I believe I have suffered enough in this life to not have my only form of entertainment take me to this place. I understand that we should not wear blinders because something like this could actually happen. Is it so self absorbing to desire to not involve my brain and heart in this imagined ugliness. It takes me down too far.
    I know we as people perpetrate atrocities on one another. Maybe the purpose of this book is to open our eyes, make us responsible to do something.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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