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Original Essays | September 17, 2014

Merritt Tierce: IMG Has My Husband Read It?



My first novel, Love Me Back, was published on September 16. Writing the book took seven years, and along the way three chapters were published in... Continue »
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The Handmaid's Tale

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The Handmaid's Tale Cover

ISBN13: 9780385490818
ISBN10: 038549081x
Condition: Standard
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Author Q & A

Q: Was there any special research involved in writing The Handmaid's Tale?

A: I clipped articles out of newspapers. I now have a large clippings file of stories supporting the contentions in the book. In other words, there isn't anything in the book not based on something that has already happened in history or in another country, or for which actual supporting documentation is not already available.

Q: It's hard to pin down a genre for this novel. Is it science fiction?

A: No, it certainly isn't science fiction. Science fiction is filled with Martians and space travel to other planets, and things like that. That isn't this book at all. The Handmaid's Tale is speculative fiction in the genre of Brave New World and 1984. 1984 was written not as science fiction but as an extrapolation of life in 1948. So, too, The Handmaid's Tale is a slight twist on the society we have now.

Q: You seem to see a role for the novel beyond entertainment.

A: I was once a graduate student in Victorian literature and I believe as the Victorian novelists did, that a novel isn't simply a vehicle for private expression, but that it also exists for social examination. I firmly believe this.

Q: The way the reader comes into The Handmaid's Tale is through a diary or a journal, memories rescued and viewed from a time in the future. The curtain is drawn back slowly. Why did you choose to write it that way?

A: What I've written is only the view of one woman who lives in that society. I reveal Gilead through the eyes of that one woman. It would be cheating to show the reader more than the character has access to. Her information is limited. In fact, her lack of information is part of the nightmare.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 10 comments:

Eric Hamell, August 5, 2014 (view all comments by Eric Hamell)
I found it a very compelling story.
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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.
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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.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780385490818
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Publisher:
Anchor
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Location:
New York :
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Science Fiction - General
Subject:
Man-woman relationships
Subject:
Fantasy
Subject:
Women -- Fiction.
Subject:
Fantasy fiction
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Science / General
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
Science / Adventure
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
April 1998
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 1.35 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Classics
History and Social Science » Politics » General

The Handmaid's Tale Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 320 pages Anchor - English 9780385490818 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

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.

"Review" by , "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!"
"Review" by , "The Handmaid's Tale deserves the highest praise."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "Splendid."
"Review" by , "[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."
"Review" by , "The most poetically satisfying and intense of all Atwood's novels."
"Review" by , "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."
"Review" by , "The Handmaid's Tale brings out the very best in Atwood — moral vision, biting humor, and a poet's imagination."
"Synopsis" by , 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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