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The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition Audiobook

The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

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Publisher's Summary

"Are there any questions?" The final line in Margaret Atwood's modern classic, The Handmaid's Tale, has teased and perplexed fans since the book's original release more than 30 years ago. Now, in this Audible Original production, listeners get some of the answers they've waited so long to hear.

Featuring an all-new interview with Professor Piexoto, written by Atwood and performed by a full cast, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition is a must-listen for both fans and newcomers alike. Emmy Award winner Claire Danes (Homeland, Temple Grandin) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, where the message (and the warning) is now more timely than ever. In addition to rich sound design that honors the audio origins of Atwood's classic, the special edition also includes a brand-new afterword from the author and an essay written by author Valerie Martin (Mary Reilly, Property).

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless 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 everything, even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life for mere glimpses of her former freedom, and records her story for future listeners.

Whether you're a fan of the original novel or someone who has recently discovered it, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition will shock, impress, and satisfy all those who listen.

The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition features performances by Claire Danes, Margaret Atwood, Emily Bauer, Allyson Johnson, Gabra Zackman, Suzanne Toren, Tim Gerard Reynolds, Jennifer Van Dyck, Ray Porter, Emily Cox, Lauren Fortgang, Dan Reiss, Prentice Onayemi, Therese Plummer, and Mark Boyett.

©1985 O.W. Toad, Ltd. First American Edition 1986. Published by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Thanks to Audible, you can now pick up a new Special Edition of The Handmaid's Tale to get caught up to speed on the story of Offred, brought to life in this audiobook version by none other than Claire Danes. (Suddenly our heads are spinning with crossover potential.) Aside from the impressive voice acting alone, this audio update also contains new scenes that actually extend the story beyond the original last line of the novel." (Nerdist)

"This highly pertinent, ingeniously conceived production deepens the original work and even surpasses it." (The Washington Post)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (671 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 04-05-17
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 04-05-17 Member Since 2017

    SciFi/Fantasy and Classics to History, Adventure and Memoirs to Social Commentary—I love and listen to it all!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    5407
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    "Wait! It Mightn't Be What You Think--"

    I already have the original version of "The Handmaid's Tale" narrated by Claire Danes, and it's fabulous. But when I saw this Special Edition with the "full cast" tag, I thought it was going to be done by Danes as the Handmaid, and a full cast for everyone else.
    Uh--no...
    It's the exact same thing, so if you've already used a credit, you might want to think about whether to purchase this or not. It does, after all have the full cast for the Symposium, and the bit with Margaret Atwood, and a brief essay which don't take up too much time exactly.
    IF, however, you've never listened to this--PLEASE DO!
    I think it's Atwood's finest, filled with rich prose, unbeatable language, and Danes is a great narrator.
    It is indeed important for our times as all that happens in the book is based on The President's Day Massacre--therefore, we give up rights we hold dear all in the name of fear, security. In this time when women's health is taking a beating, it's wonderful speculative fiction.
    It's simply the day-to-day, night-to-night, existence of one woman trapped in a new society, forced to give up, to only remember with utter agony, the life and loved ones she was torn away from. It's what she has to do to survive, where Scrabble is kinky and ungodly.
    Though I was disappointed that there wasn't a full cast for the book, it was really, really great to listen to this again.
    You wind up wishing for so much for this Handmaid, least of all: that one day she can again be important enough to at least own her own name...

    141 of 155 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Melanie 04-07-17
    Melanie 04-07-17
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    "Wow. Just wow."

    I read this book in the '80s when it first came out and enjoyed it. Some 30 years later it rings even more strongly as a cautionary tale and a very human story.

    The narration is superb. The addition of the "question and answer" session is brilliant.

    I recommend.

    27 of 29 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sara Rathfelder 04-07-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Excellent"

    Excellent story. Very well done. I encourage you to listen to the author at the end. She answers several questions. It says "full cast", and there is one, but it is at the very end. Offred is verbally telling her story to the reader/listener and therefore no one else plays the parts of the other characters.

    14 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynette Garet San Clemente, CA 04-13-17
    Lynette Garet San Clemente, CA 04-13-17 Member Since 2015

    Net Garet

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    "Chilling and insightful"

    Like many, I read and loved The Handmaid's Tale in the late 80s. Given the recent production of the Hulu mini-series, I wanted to "read" it again; I found this special edition to be far more insightful than the first, with its essay and commentary following.
    Moreover, perhaps because of my own age, maturity and wisdom or because of the current political climate (likely, a combination of the two), I was far more moved by Ofred's story this time around. Margaret Atwood at her best; a must read cautionary tale.

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Allison Flanagan 04-13-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Great"

    This book is fantastic. Claire Danes is great. The special edition isn't very special- they added a bit of music before the chapters and a discussion and essay at the end.

    12 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    foxtail_too 04-12-17
    foxtail_too 04-12-17

    Kristi

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    "Good reading of a classic book"

    I like the reader and the story is as chilling as it was when the book came out originally. But why did they chose to put an interval of sound effects at the beginning of select chapters? I still haven't quite figured them out, but they do not add to the performance.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Lindsey San Fernando Valley, CA 04-18-17
    J. Lindsey San Fernando Valley, CA 04-18-17 Member Since 2016

    In Anchorage AK since 2007. Found audio books in 1996. I remember the huge boxes of cassettes in the mail! Sometimes w/a faulty cassette!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Complex Simplicity"

    I have been encouraged by some, who know that I'm an addictive reader, to read Margaret Atwood, in particular., this novel. Always hesitant to read futuristic or allegorical material , I put this off. But when this "special edition" became available, I decided to wing it. I read this whole book with a couple of naps.
    Even being an English literature major, I was sooo glad to have an explanatory afterword, if only to legitimize my own notions about the deeper meanings of the narrative... which are closer to the surface than one would like to believe!!!! Offred is the perfect protagonist. Thanks, Claire Dsines, for making her so real.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. I. Rosoff Monroe NC 04-06-17
    G. I. Rosoff Monroe NC 04-06-17 Member Since 2016

    Elaine Rosoff

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    "Past is prologue but fiction?"

    Truly a masterpiece. I was reluctant to listen to books but The Handmaid's Tale has converted me. Back in the 70's both climate change and a fascist America were predicted. It seemed impossible: yet here we are. I believe if I had read this when it was written I would not have understood but I still wish I had. This particular version has added information which certainly enriches one.
    Why is it that making things better is not making things better for all. At least we should try. Remember a beautiful Mind?

    20 of 31 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-25-17 Member Since 2014

    Lynn E.

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    "It made me think."
    What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition?

    Claire Danes' narration was on point. She read neither too fast or too slow and the tone of her voice brought me immediately into the story. A narrator can make or break an audio book, and I believe Danes made this one wonderful.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    When Offred crossed paths with Moira at Jezebels. It was the last encounter of friends who knew each other for real and I felt for them both.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The Historical Notes section was expanded for this edition. I've never read or listened to a prior version of this text, but I loved the question and answer section and it kind of jolted me. I was so emotionally involved in Offred's story, when suddenly, we switch to a centuries into the future academic Q&A. It made Offred's story seem distant, just like events we all read about in high school history. That kind of stuff can't happen again we thought, but can it? Will it? I believe this book is very relevant to the current political and social climate, from start to finish.


    Any additional comments?

    Listen to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ambER 04-20-17
    ambER 04-20-17 Member Since 2017
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    "WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT WAIT"
    What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition the most enjoyable?

    Claire Danes' Narration


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

    LISTEN: I thought this was going to be the entire novel narrated by the full cast. Claire Danes and Tim Gerard Reynolds?! YES PLEASE.

    BUT NO.

    This is simply Claire Danes narrating the entire novel (wonderful job though) so if you already have a copy of the handmaiden's tale narrated by her DONT GET THIS ONE BECAUSE THE OTHER NARRATORS JUST READ THE EXTRAS TACKED ON AT THE END.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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