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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.

Cover Art by Fred Marcellino. Used with permission of Pippin Properties, Inc.

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.

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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

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Performance
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  •  
    Reader 05-01-14
    Reader 05-01-14 Member Since 2011
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    "First A-List read and loved it!"
    Have you listened to any of Claire Danes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Claire Dannes did a wonderful job! I have avoided the A-List because I enjoy the "professionals" that do so well reading Dickens, Tolstoy, Martin, etc. I wasn't sure if the crossover from screen acting would translate into interesting narration. It clearly does.


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the story, and the performance made it even more disturbing (in a good way). I highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elle OREGON 10-30-13
    Elle OREGON 10-30-13

    Audible Fan, Amazon Customer, Gardener, Quilter, Liberal and Activist. I'll read about anything!

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    "Five Stars For This Frightening Tale"

    Like many other women, I first read Atwood's seminal story of religion gone amok when it was published... in the early era of feminism, this novel was passed from one woman to another with "You MUST read this!" verbiage attached.

    I was appalled and thankful at the same time. While not a Reagan fan, I didn't think him capable of this kind of change to our American culture-and Nancy was, if not a feminist, at least pro women.
    Fast forward to 2017 and our current president who might just think ..if he does think.. that this is what women deserve.

    Hulu has chosen a perfect environment for launching a mini series based on Atwood's novel and it inspired me to purchase and listen to Claire Danes excellent narration.

    A must listen for any progressive.

    Most likely conservatives would tout Gilliad as a great place to live. I'll stick with Oregon thanks

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13
    Momster Cupcakes Ohio 06-07-13 Member Since 2014
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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.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lizzystick United States 03-07-13
    Lizzystick 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.

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13
    Benoibe New Orleans, LA, United States 01-28-13 Member Since 2010

    audio addict! Mostly interested in history and some historical fiction. Will Durant is my all time favorite. Loving the Great Courses too.

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    "A classic. Narration is OUTSTANDING!"

    This book fills me with despair. However, it is important and is a must-read.

    Claire Danes' performance is absolutely amazing. I was wary of famous actors as narrators. Once I started listening, I realized Danes is a natural. She adds a special something to this story, making this audiobook as classic and essential as the book itself!

    More Claire Danes!!!

    7 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Victoria 09-26-12
    Victoria 09-26-12 Member Since 2008

    RangerGirl

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    "it might happen...."


    Sad, disturbing, borderline scary. What would I do?... But we human can adjust to just about anything... and there will always be love and the quest for belonging, for a touch and for an identity. Great, thought-provoking book. I wish the ending was more revealing...

    3 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 03-30-14
    Gillian Austin, TX, United States 03-30-14 Member Since 2017

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

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Flawless Narration of Beautiful Prose!"

    I read The Handmaid's Tale quite some time ago but read such amazing reviews of Clare Danes I was drawn into getting the audible version. What a breathtaking experience.
    In the first place, Margaret Atwood's world building abilities here really shine. Everything is covered in the country of Gilead, the lead up to the overthrow of the world as we know it, the new political structure, religion, tension outlets (via partaking in executions) for the Handmaids, daily life and the lack of reading opportunities for women as they shop (all in pictures: mustn't have literate women!), and a shady underworld that shows that, for the powerful, things are just as seedy as they've ever been. So much thought has been put into every scene, every image, it's almost impossible not to be drawn in by it all, totally blown away by the world we get to walk through. I really, really appreciate being completely pulled into stories, and it's very rare. Hell, it's five-star rare!
    I've never been a huge fan of Clare Danes, didn't dislike her mind you, simply have never thought much of her one way or another. But her delivery of the story is heartbreaking, moving, confusing: she completely inhabits the skin, the very soul and spirit of Offred (and it was genius on Atwood's part that we never know her name, though it's alluded to). As one other reviewer pointed out, she is the character, she is the story, down to the inhalation of a puff of a cigarette. How can you not find that to be a sheer delight? How can you not be that person yourself?
    Treat yourself to this book. I'm not an Everything-Atwood kind of person, but this book is written so fluidly, with such beautiful metaphors, and such powerful word choices, it's hard not to shout it from the rooftops. With Danes at the helm, guiding is through, it's a five-star home run, well worth the credit, well worth the time. Brava to both women!

    4 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JASON R. Hollywood, FL United States 03-18-13
    JASON R. Hollywood, FL United States 03-18-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Society ends and nothing much happens..."
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    If there was any sense of the story going anywhere except around in cirlces.


    What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

    The fact that what little action exists (meaning anything to advance the plot) is mired in irrelevant flashback and endless introspection by the narrator. Listening to this story was frustrating because one needs to put up with a barrage of pointless observations, trivial references and constant reminiscing before the story takes even a half-step formward.


    Which character – as performed by Claire Danes – was your favorite?

    I don't recall ever falling asleep during any parts where Ms. Danes was performing as Aunt Lydia. However, that's not saying much. The rest of the characters were transparent to point of non-existence.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Handmaid's Tale?

    Although most of this book was easily forgettable the scenes in which the narrator recalled her mother were particularly hard to sit through.


    Any additional comments?

    I've rarely given up on a book no matter how bad because I always choose to believe that it's got to get better. For me to abandon this audiobook after paying what I consider to be a expensive price, shows how unpleasant listening to this audio book was for me.

    I think Claire Danes did as good a job as this material would allow her to do. Unfortunately, despite her talents, the story itself served as nothing more than a sleeping aid for me. I can't believe this book won the Arthur C. Clarke award.

    19 of 36 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Denise L. Bartlett stuart, florida 05-24-17
    Denise L. Bartlett stuart, florida 05-24-17

    bitsandpieces

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    "The handmaid's tale"

    I enjoyed this book immensely. The storyline was great and the narrator was excellent .couldn't be happier.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jordan 05-24-17
    Jordan 05-24-17 Member Since 2017
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    "Good read"

    Good book, wish there was more to the end! didn't really get the historical reference of the last chapter but all in all great story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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