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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

Overall

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Story

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There should have been more!!!

There was a great story unfolding here and more details of who, where, when and why would have made this an amazing book- but to leave one hanging on so many questions feels like unfinished business :(

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Scary Creepy Good

It's creepy, its scary and makes you seriously not want to be female. Ugh. It's interesting and is an experiment in humankind and society values versus wants/needs. The story goes fast and is wonderfully read by Claire Danes - her voice is perfect for it.

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Review of The Handmaid's Tale

I just finished The Handmaid's Tale on Audible! I have never read this book, so I cannot compare it to the written version. But, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the narrator's voice tell me the story. I became hooked. What happens in this dystopian society to our protagonist, "Offred"? The story reminded me of reading 1984. The thought, the idea, that our society could change so drastically, is intriguing, captivating. The descriptions of our liberties we enjoy today in the story. The description of "falling in love" and choice in our lives as, well, inferior to their present. Interesting. Makes me rethink my own life. Submersed in this futuristic fantasy, I begin questioning my own choices.

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  • Erin
  • Vermont
  • 04-02-17

More relevant every year

If you could sum up The Handmaid's Tale in three words, what would they be?

Complex Insightful Brilliant

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

I loved her steady voice. Using a near monotone to tell what is an incredibly painful, tragic story made every tiny waver and hesitation so powerful. She was able to convey the injustice of enslavement so that you felt the rage and despair for her. A powerful performance.

Who was the most memorable character of The Handmaid's Tale and why?

Offred, as the main character and narrator, is inevitably the most memorable character. That said, Atwood is adept at giving characters full and complex personalities in a minimum number of words. I loved how we don't know if Ofwarren was really an ally until the very end of the book; I love the complexity of Serena Joy, the Commander, and Jeanine. Even the characters that never appear--Luke and the narrator's daughter--figure prominently and with weight.

Any additional comments?

I was expecting this to be the typical dis-utopian novel of the era, with overt references and morals that hit you over the head. I was excited to realize that the author had developed this world in her mind to include the tiniest of details--it was a story about a very real situation that human societies find themselves in, even if the exact details don't apply. I read this shortly after reading Underground Railroad, and was surprised at the similarities of experience, real and imagined, of slavery in America. There was so much to think about and piece together in this novel--so glad I finally got around to it.

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Excellent Book but Heavy

Would you try another book from Margaret Atwood and/or Claire Danes?

I loved the reading from Claire Danes, she sounds like the voice in my head when I'm reading. She did a good balance of telling a story but without too much flourish that you keep saying, I recognize that voice.

What was most disappointing about Margaret Atwood’s story?

Disappointing is not the right word, I loved the writing and the ideas, its just too much to take some days. I listen to it on my way to work and it made me feel more depressed about the state of our political climate today. I want to come back to the story but I need a breather.

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Excellent book

What made the experience of listening to The Handmaid's Tale the most enjoyable?

Though written quite awhile ago, this story is as timely today as it was when written. An exceptionally well-written and well-narrated book.

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A fantastic piece of literature. Please read it.

One of the best works I've been fortunate to enjoy of late. I may have to read it now.

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Relevant and well performed

What did you love best about The Handmaid's Tale?

The reader made me feel the emotion of the story - and emotionless parts as well. The story really left me wanting more and made me excited for the mini series coming up on Hulu!

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

I found the heroines ability to change her memory to make it a more palatable past fascinating.

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

No - but I certainly will.

Who was the most memorable character of The Handmaid's Tale and why?

Moira - because she found creative ways to rebel and never gave in to the brainwashing.

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Terribly sad

If you're already feeling a bit low, this book may not help. But it's an excellent read and I suggest it all the same. In a word, Powerful.

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A must read!

This book really resonated with me. I throughly enjoyed it and could hardly put it down.