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The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition  By  cover art

The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition

By: Margaret Atwood, Valerie Martin - essay
Narrated by: Claire Danes, full cast, Margaret Atwood, Tim Gerard Reynolds
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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.

Critic reviews

"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)

"Danes has a calm, still voice that perfectly suits the protagonist.... So what is 'special' and new about this edition? Most of it has to do with material at the end of the book. Previous readers of the book will know that there is an afterword set centuries after the events told in the rest of the novel; it takes the form of an academic lecture that describes finding Offred's story. She never wrote it down; rather, she recorded it over a bunch of music cassette tapes. This edition actually begins each section of the novel with the sound of a 'record' button being pressed and a snatch of music referred to in the epilogue. In a sense, this makes listening to the audiobook a more authentic experience than reading it.... While the Hulu show has its points, what it lacks is the sheer poetry of Atwood's writing, which is profoundly and gorgeously highlighted by the experience of listening to the novel. Absolutely recommended." (Locus magazine)

"The actor Claire Danes voices the narrator, Offred (the book’s second section, given over to the perspectives of other handmaids, is read by a full cast), with an appropriately theatrical gravitas, her voice so dramatic at points that it trembles. She has called the book 'so poetic I think the words are really served by being spoken out loud.'” (The New York Times Book Review)

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