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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 (5829 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tammy Dublin, OH, United States 05-11-13
    Tammy Dublin, OH, United States 05-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Thought Provoking"

    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!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa Jyväskylä, Finland 05-11-13
    Lisa Jyväskylä, Finland 05-11-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Feminist dystopia"

    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

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    golli-1112 05-11-13
    golli-1112 05-11-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My first Margaret Atwood"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-07-13
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    "Unbearable..."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Kolb Seattle, WA United States 05-05-13
    C. Kolb Seattle, WA United States 05-05-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Scary because it seems possible"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

    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.


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

    (Spoilers)
    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.


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emerson M. Bethesda, MD United States 04-29-13
    Emerson M. Bethesda, MD United States 04-29-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Amazing"

    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).

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra Goffstown, NH, United States 04-27-13
    Sandra Goffstown, NH, United States 04-27-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Disturbing"

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    melane lozano Houston, TX 04-16-13
    melane lozano Houston, TX 04-16-13
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    "Loved it"
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    I listened to this one several times. Claire Daines is a wonderful narrator.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to it

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Dallas, Texas, United States 04-15-13
    Laura Dallas, Texas, United States 04-15-13 Member Since 2015
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    "What could lie for us in the future..."
    If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

    Chaotic future upheaval.


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

    Big Brother for the fact that one's own actions are no longer theirs due to psychological manipulation by the State.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Offred was describing her life before the changes.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Dystopia


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bleu Chicago, IL, United States 04-03-13
    Bleu Chicago, IL, United States 04-03-13 Member Since 2010

    Graphic Designer. Culinary Enthusiast. Mostly User Friendly.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Classic for a Reason"

    I really enjoyed this. It was beautifully written and beautifully narrated by Clare Danes. I loved the way that Atwood plays with language and symbolism, and the way that the story unfolds, slowly giving you just little bits of information at a time, and letting you piece together the whole as you go.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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