Kasey Weird, August 2, 2014 (view all comments by Kasey Weird)
Atwood's writing is beautifully accessible, if that is a phrase that makes sense. And Handmaid's Tale in particular is a defining work, taking the idea of women's bodies being primarily for reproduction to an extreme that reveals the deep problems with such a perspective.
cominguplray, November 12, 2012 (view all comments by cominguplray)
This is one of my favorite books. It is gripping, vivid, exciting, frightening, and full of human spirit. The story follows a woman in an ultra-religious and oppressive future society in which leaders are panicking and dissenters are silenced quickly. She struggles to make sense of the world, longs for the past, and endeavors to return to some semblance of the life she knew before the world went mad. It was a book that I couldn't put down, full of imagery and emotion, and one that I could read over and over again.
Atwood's classic dystopian novel of a terrifying (and terrifyingly plausible) future America has rewarded rereading like no other book; I've probably read it 30 times by now. The world of the narrator, Offred (from "Of Fred" — women no longer have their own names), is chilling, but she is a magnificent survivor and chronicler, and the details of everything from mundane daily life to ritualized sex and violence to her reminiscences of the time before (our contemporary reality, as seen in the '80s) are absolutely realistic. The novel is as relevant today as ever; feminist backlashes continue to wax and wane, but women's rights remain in the spotlight. And despite its scenarios of great despair, The Handmaid's Tale is ultimately a hopeful book — Offred, and others, simply cannot be human without the possibility of hope, and therein lies the strength of the resistance. All of Atwood is worth reading, but this book best exemplifies the cultural and psychological impact that a work of fiction can create.
by Jill Owens
by The Washington Post Book World,
"A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex....Just as the world of Orwell's 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood's handmaid!"
by The San Francisco Chronicle,
"The Handmaid's Tale deserves the highest praise."
by Houston Chronicle,
"Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions....An excellent novel about the directions our lives are taking....Read it while it's still allowed."
by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times,
"[A] taut thriller, a psychological study, a play on words. It has a sense of humor about itself, as well as an ambivalence toward even its worst villains."
"The most poetically satisfying and intense of all Atwood's novels."
by The Globe and Mail (Toronto),
"The Handmaid's Tale is in the honorable tradition of Brave New World and other warnings of dystopia. It's imaginative, even audacious, and conveys a chilling sense of fear and menace."
"The Handmaid's Tale brings out the very best in Atwood — moral vision, biting humor, and a poet's imagination."
First published in 1985, The Handmaid's Tale is a novel of such power that the reader is unable to forget its images and its forecast. With more than two million copies in print, it is Margaret Atwood's most popular and compelling novel. Set in the near future, it describes life in what once was the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead. Reacting to social unrest, and a sharply declining birthrate, the new regime has reverted to — even gone beyond — the repressive tolerance of the original Puritans.
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