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Set in the near future, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale explores themes of women in subjugation. The character is one of a class of individuals kept as ‘handmaids’ for reproductive purposes in an era of declining births. The images of emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel-the effect is chilling.— Tracy
I missed this one growing up, and worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to the off-the-charts hype. I’m happy to say this gorgeous, absolutely mesmerizing book is as relevant and engrossing today as ever. Offred’s story is so touching (and terrifying), because the world she inhabits feels so close to our own, with diction that feels positively poetic.— Jax
The original feminist dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale is a book by one of the most talented writers of our time. Certain truths within it can be painful to read, but there’s also so much beauty in this survival story of a woman who has all of her rights stripped away by a totalitarian, patriarchal regime. A true classic that every American ought to read.— Jess
A gripping vision of our society radically overturned by a theocratic revolution, The Handmaid's Tale has become one of the most powerful and most widely read novels of our time. Margaret Atwood is “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).
Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, serving in the household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife. She may go out once a day to markets whose signs are now pictures because women are not allowed to read. She must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, for in a time of declining birthrates her value lies in her fertility, and failure means exile to the dangerously polluted Colonies. Offred can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost even her own name. Now she navigates the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life in breaking the rules.
Like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Handmaid's Tale has endured not only as a literary landmark but as a warning of a possible future that is still chillingly relevant.