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.
“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)
This was a very chilling book. When you read it, your initial reaction is that this could never happen. Until you realize that it has happened in other countries, where women's rights have been totally stripped away. I had to keep reminding myself that this was written in the mid 1980s, which make it even more chilling. The religious right taking over this country and wanting to limit women's reproductive freedom? Nah, could never happen? Could it?!?! Just look at what is occurring around us today.
It was interesting to think about the context of this story. There was concern by the government of the dropping Caucasian birth rate, which is why they created the handmaid role in that society. Racism was at the core of this, although you don't really learn this until the end. And if you think about it, the fact that they use the Aunts, who are women, to control other women makes sense. How many times do the people who oppress others turn out to be the same group of the people that they oppress?
There were parts of the story that I found slow moving, but overall, it was a solid read. I listened to this as part of Audible's A-list collection and Clair Danes did an excellent job narrating the story.
I loved this book. It is a book that makes you realize freedom is very important and being involved in our government as a women is essential. Very interesting read!
For me this novel is up there with 1984 as being both shocking and believable. It's a quiet, contemplative narrative, as it focuses on the main character's inner world (she is not able to have much of an outer world). There is very little melodrama. It gives the reader a lot of thinking space and a lot to think about. I'm very glad I finally 'read' it.
Claire Danes reads it very well, with just the right tone and rhythm to make the prose really feel like a stream of thoughts
Beautiful writing, suspenseful in a quiet way, richly formed characters, and a disquieting, dystopian world that makes your sick crawl. Claire Danes performance is spot on.
I am not normally the type to stop a book once I start it (even an audiobook), but in this case, I had to make an exception. This story just drove me up the wall. When I realized that I had started to dread listening to it, I finally said enough.This audiobook has two overpowering problems: 1) The rhythm of the storytelling is extremely staccato. Short, disconnected sentences, in short, disconnected paragraphs, in short, disconnected chapters. Ms. Danes' flat performance probably reflects the character of the narrator rather than poor acting; however, added to the staccato rhythm, it was maddening.2) The author overuses simile, as though it were the only way to describe something. It felt like every 3 or 4th paragraph started with one (short, direct) statement followed by a daisy chain of similes, each more extreme than the last. It made me wonder if the editor sent the first draft back to the author with a note to be more descriptive, so the author put four or five similes at the end of every setting description to "beef" things up.Who knows, the concept of the story may be fantastic, but at least as an audiobook, it just did not work for me.
Great story brought to life by the amazing Claire Danes. The reason I will recommend this to my friends - and insist my nieces read it - is because it brings home how fragile our current way of life and its freedoms are. While I admit I fantasize about not having to work and having all the time I want to knit and garden, the idea of not having the freedom to work, to read, to own, to decide... Chills me to the bone.
I was very tense while listening, wondering how things would work out. I wanted her to be successful in getting pregnant but worried what would happen if she did. I wanted her to find out what had happened to her loved ones but worried it wouldn't be good news. But other than the ending, which made me cry, the part that was most intense for me was when she lost her job and found out she could no longer own anything or have money. It felt too real. That said, the description of someone's feet being tortured, while short, made me squirm. Just the idea... Yikes.
This book is even more relevant now than it was when first written.
Claire Daines is an excellent narrator.
Highly recommend this if it's been over twenty years since you last read it (like me).
I found this book to be disturbing in a good way. It took me a long time to listen to The Handmaid’s Tale after I purchased it, as I knew it would be a thought-provoking book, but I am glad I did finally read it. It made me analyze how people can be thrown into situations and have no way to change their circumstances so that life becomes a daily choice: live this way or die.
I am glad that I listened to this book rather than reading it as the way it was written lent itself to this format. Claire Danes was fantastic.
I listened to this one several times. Claire Daines is a wonderful narrator.
Listen to it
Chaotic future upheaval.
Big Brother for the fact that one's own actions are no longer theirs due to psychological manipulation by the State.
When Offred was describing her life before the changes.
This was a great read. It hits home with how the current state of affairs sways. I recommend it and caution the reader to take it as a cautionary tale toward the government body having too much power.
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