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
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. Offred is a Handmaid who may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant because she is only valued as long as her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.
Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid's Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.