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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

4.4 (18489 )
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Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 03-09-14
    Deborah Buskirk Neptune NJ 03-09-14 Member Since 2001

    deafsetter

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "No purpose, no ending"

    Narrator did an excellent job. But other than that? I just didn't get it. There was no ending, nor purpose. Just a sort of diary of the handmaid and what a depressing, restricted, hopeless life she has. No closure. I was 1/2 through the audio book when it switched to "part 2". I considered quitting, but the rave reviews pushed me onward. Nope, don't get it. A total waste of time.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-29-13
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2009

    caffeinated

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    "Heart-wrenchingly good"

    The story and writing are impeccable. But I was even more impressed by Claire Danes' interpretation.

    There is a point in Danes' performance in which the main character is sharing a cigarette with a friend where Danes laughs and blows imaginary smoke out of the side of her mouth. This simple but attentive improvisational detail underscores the genius of her craft and the commitment she has to the material. A spectacular bit of work that would be degraded by calling it a reading.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    keasha 04-07-13
    keasha 04-07-13 Member Since 2013
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    "This was tough to get through"

    Hard to finish. Kept waiting for something other than physical description after physical description. If not for Claire Danes, I couldnt have finished it. Was so glad by the time it was done. The ending dragged on and on and on.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diane 03-23-13
    Diane 03-23-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Outstanding narration/disappointing story"
    What disappointed you about The Handmaid's Tale?

    I've listened to more than 150 books, but I have never listened to one where I appreciated the talent of the narrator tremendously but disliked the story more. Because of the other reviews, I kept waiting for the story to get better. It didn't. The ending was the worst. Claire Dane's narration was the only good thing about it.


    18 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12
    Pattie LEWISTON, MAINE, United States 10-16-12 Member Since 2017
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    "I'm glad I have this audiobook a chance."

    I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school and was not a great fan. But I love Claire Danes so I tried the audiobook, 12 years later. She does a great job making Offred's voice come to life. Maybe it was her narration, or maybe that I'm a bit closer to Offred's age now, but it is a good book and worth the download.

    18 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Lansing, MI United States 10-02-12
    Amazon Customer Lansing, MI United States 10-02-12
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    "Haunting"

    I wasn't expecting to enjoy the book as much as I did. Claire Danes did a beautiful job and captured all of Offred's emotions. She brought the book to life. I felt as if I was sitting and listening to Offred in my home recollecting about her time in Gilead. While the book has left me with a haunted feeling, I can't stop thinking about it. It is a wonderful cautionary tale that everyone should read or listen to. This is going to be one of the rare books that I will probably listen to again.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Patti Bolton, MA, United States 09-12-12
    Patti Bolton, MA, United States 09-12-12 Member Since 2014

    i buy at least one hundred books a year. of all types. just want a good story with a good reader. not so complicated.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I have waited for a long time for this book"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    This may be one of my favorite books of all time. Been asking Audible for it for years. I would highly recommend The Handmaid's Tale to everyone who loves books. So well written.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The writing. The writing. The narration. The narration.


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

    I can't find anything else she has read. Would listen to anything that she has though. Just told a friend that she is one of best narrators I have heard.


    If you could take any character from The Handmaid's Tale out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Probably Of Fred. And I don't really know why. I found her so multidimensional that it would be interesting to ask her questions.


    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tonya Phoenix, Arizona, United States 12-26-12
    Tonya Phoenix, Arizona, United States 12-26-12 Member Since 2014
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    "Excellent narrator for an Excellet book!"
    Where does The Handmaid's Tale rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Handmaid's Tale is very near the top of the audiobooks I've listened to.


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

    Far too many to share, and my memorable moments tend to be spoilers.


    What does Claire Danes bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Unlike most audiobook productions, Claire Danes chose to read the book to us. It isn't a dramatization. She is just such an excellent voice and is able to form a unique tie between reader and story.


    Any additional comments?

    Gripping story, couldn't turn it off.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary HAMPDEN, ME, United States 11-19-12
    Mary HAMPDEN, ME, United States 11-19-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Recommended"

    It's been a number of years since I last read this -- very enjoyable narration by Claire Danes. I hope she does more.
    Meanwhile, I anxiously await Atwood's third installment to the After-The-Flood Trilogy.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pat Higgins 09-07-12
    Pat Higgins 09-07-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wow!"

    I read this book back when it came out in the 80's and liked it very much. I saw a lot of correlations at the time with the women's movement and drew connections to the late sixties and early seventies when I was coming of age. It has been almost 30 years since that reading, but a true classic brings something new to every re-reading.
    Now I find that, like all good literature, it adapts and applies itself to each new period. When I began this re-reading I remembered the gist of the story and, along with other Atwood books that I have read, the quality of the writing. I did not expect to be blown away with connections to our current times. Money became obsolete and replaced by the card- no biggie. The environmental and even nuclear destruction elements are a common plot line. A bloody coup by duplicitous, ultraconservative, far right, religious fundamentalists that replace the US government with a monotheistic totalitarian society and then proceed to dumb down all thought by or opportunity for the populace? And they pinned the blame for that demise of the US government on the Muslim countries! And that's just the beginning. Wow!

    Obviously, I give this book 5 stars across the board. Claire Danes does a fine job reading this book. She sounds the part and performs perfectly with all the necessary nuance and inflection. A great rendition! I'll look for more from her and will start re-reading Atwood's other works as well.

    15 of 21 people found this review helpful

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