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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

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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    14,469
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    6,160
  • 3 Stars
    2,421
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Performance

  • 4.6 out of 5.0
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  • 2 Stars
    327
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Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
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  • 3 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    565
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Great Story Made Greater by Claire Danes

Although not a sci-fi enthusiast, this book was so well written and performed that I was hooked from the first chapter. And stayed hooked all the way through the epilogue. Entertaining, and not too far fetched. Could this happen to us?

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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

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Unexpected Treasure

I'd heard about this book from another source. Here I read the summary and wasn't sure I would like it. After it started, I still wasn't sure because I couldn't really understand what was happening, but I kept listening. Before long I was hooked. This was one of the best stories I've heard, the best reader and I was overall very happy with this unusual story. Be careful what you ask for, you may get it! But you have to hear this story! The Handmaid's Tale will stay with you for a long long time.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Benoibe
  • New Orleans, LA, United States
  • 01-28-13

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 13 people found this review helpful

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  • JASON R.
  • Hollywood, FL United States
  • 03-18-13

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.<br/><br/>

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. <br/><br/>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

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4, not a 5

This book is good but can be hard to follow at points. I wish I had done some research about the story before I started the book. I am watching the series on Hulu and love it

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Atwood read by Danes!

Magnificent Margaret Atwood brought to light vividly and immaculately by Claire Danes. Worthwhile even if you've already read the book. May lead to severe post-book depression.

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Excellent narration adds new levels to this tale

My introduction to Margaret Attwood's skill as a writer, The Handmaid's Tale remains a favourite. Claire Danes' narration is perfect - timing, emphasis, tone, pitch perfect.

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  • DD
  • Pittsburgh, PA, United States
  • 12-12-17

Thought provoking

I liked the book overall despite the author's tendency towards long winded descriptive narrative. The narrator was chosen well for this book and helped to keep the book interesting through the previously mentioned descriptive sections. I would bet much recommend this book to any socially conscious reader.

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I didn't like this book , it was a real let down

this book was all over the place you couldn't keep track picking it's kept switching back and forward now and then the main character had no character and was just badly written