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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 (4616 )
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4.4 (4150 )
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Marjorie Edgewater, MD, United States 07-14-13
    Marjorie Edgewater, MD, United States 07-14-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Riveting"
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

    Clare Danes did a great job. I didn't want it to end. I would like to read more by this author.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shari 07-11-13
    Shari 07-11-13

    avid reader

    HELPFUL VOTES
    9
    ratings
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    "Great story."

    The Handmaid's Tale was a lot different then I thought it would be. I saw some negative reviews about how the book was to read mostly concerning the style it was written. I guess I lucked out here. The narrator was amazing. I felt like I was there in her head the whole time. This dystopian novel sets a surreal setting of a future where men take their power to a whole new level. I really enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13
    Laurie Florence, KY, United States 07-10-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donna DURHAM, NC, United States 07-07-13
    Donna DURHAM, NC, United States 07-07-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
    ratings
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    "I did not want it to end"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the top three


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

    I can't think of a comparable book at the moment.


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

    Great performance! If this is ever made into a movie would I really would like to see her play Offered.


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

    Yes. It left me feeling desperate to know her name and what happened to her.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    cdesq8 Oil City, PA 07-02-13
    cdesq8 Oil City, PA 07-02-13

    Added Audible to my 2 hour commute, consuming books at rapid pace, and rating books based on keeping me engaged and making time fly!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    17
    ratings
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    13
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    "Don't discount this great listen!"

    Initial draw to this Claire Danes narrated novel was undercut by Audible's insistence to keep putting this title on sale! In my mind it said something about the listening value. Obviously that's not how Audible prices (all) of its titles. When it finally landed in my library in a BOGO sale, it was a favorite listen. As Margaret Atwood herself protested, this is less science fiction than it is social science fiction or speculative fiction.

    The subject matter and 1980s women's perspective is just as relevant and poignant today and Claire Danes does excellent work with the compelling material. My 4 star rating on the story is only because I like a neat and tidy ending, but, without spoiling anything, I can accept that such a resolution would mess with the could-be-ness of the plot.

    Bottom line, don't let the fire sale pricing discourage you - just thank Audible for the great pricing on a great listen!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel Oceanside, CA, United States 06-27-13
    Rachel Oceanside, CA, United States 06-27-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Blah!"
    Any additional comments?

    This book was just not for me. It was very disconnected and I was disappointed that nothing ever really came of the story and it went unfinished, but that is how the story was meant to be. It jumped around so much from past/present/etc. that it was hard to follow. There were interesting parts but they always left me wanting to know more and wanting to find out what all happened but you never ever get to find out very much, which was very annoying! It was a teaser book with fragmented bits of a story- and that is exactly what the author intended it to be.

    Claire Danes simply read the book, rather than acting out the characters, which for me was boring, lifeless and dull, but for the book, I suppose it was fitting, given the circumstances of the life of the main character.

    So, for what the book was intended to be, I think they did it right. But I personally didn't like it and it left me unsatisfied and wondering what all really happened.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Beverly Flovilla, Georgia, United States 06-27-13
    Beverly Flovilla, Georgia, United States 06-27-13 Member Since 2012

    Hello! I'm a full-time nurse, part-time reader, chef, gardener and stylist! Love all my hobbies. Oh, and mother to Marley (shih-tzu) and Sam

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Flawless Narration"

    The Handmaid's Tale is a frightening portrayal of another reality. A reality I pray will never exist.. In this novel, the world as we know it no longer exists. It has been wracked by chemical and nuclear "accidents" as well as opportunistic wars.

    Those who have risen to power, have created a scary existance for the rest of the population. Religious zealots now rule with an iron fist. They mandate all facets of life for everyone. The only way to survive is to accept their brutal form of religion where only the select few are considered worthy.

    Women of child-bearing age, who are found to remain fertile despite the chemicals that have ravaged the earth, are relagated to repopulate the earth. It is their duty. Their life is no longer their own. In fact no one's life is their own anymore.

    The novel is very thoughtfully written. The language flows beautifully and the narration is flawless. Claire Danes does the best narration I've listened to. She really captures the essance of the characters without embelishing them in anyway. She simply lets the characters be themselves and allows the author to create their voices.

    This book was written several years ago, but given the divide in our present time it seems more relevant now than it was when originally written.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 06-12-13
    Rina A. Stein Wooster, OH 06-12-13 Member Since 2013

    sewkrazy

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing narrator!"
    Would you listen to The Handmaid's Tale again? Why?

    This great story is made fresh and wonderful again by the narration of Claire Danes. Don't miss it. It is the best.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jessica Bakersfield, CA, United States 06-11-13
    jessica Bakersfield, CA, United States 06-11-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Hard to follow at times but generally good"

    I generally liked this book and would be interested in reading similar books. I am glad I bought and read this one!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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