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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale (original 1985; edition 1986)

by Margaret Atwood

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23,83759545 (4.11)1467
Title:The Handmaid's Tale
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Seal Books, McLelland and Stewart Limited
Collections:Your library
Tags:Modern Canadian Lit., Writing by Women

Work details

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

  1. 595
    1984 by George Orwell (cflorente, norabelle414, Schwehnchen)
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    browner56: Two chilling, though extremely well written, reminders that liberty, freedom, and self-determination are not idle concepts.
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    krazy4katz: An upside down recommendation, as this is an "all-women" utopia rather than a dystopia, but a fun read.
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    sparemethecensor: The Handmaid's Tale is the classic forerunner to dystopic fiction of sexist futures. When She Woke picks up the mantel with a more modern version of a misogynistic theocracy taking over government. Both show terrifying futures for the state of women in society.… (more)
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» See also 1467 mentions

English (568)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (586)
Showing 1-5 of 568 (next | show all)
Less then 150 pages in, I've had it...
I dont remember being this bored in my life.
Good riddance. What is all the hype about? Did I miss something?
Like I want a terrorist to come and nuke the entire population of this town... thats how hard I dislike this book
Im at a point in my life where, if I find myself struggling to complete a book- it gets shelved.
( )
  XoVictoryXo | May 31, 2016 |
The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood
4 stars
Handmaid’s Tale was first published in 1986. At the time, I had several friends who raved about the book and wanted me to read it. I did pick it up, but decided that I would have to wait to tackle it. It didn’t seem quite the right choice for someone deeply invested in infertility treatments. Treatments were successful, so two children and 23 years later, I’ve finally read the book.
I think I made a good choice. Atwood’s disturbed vision of the future is a cautionary tale to send shivers down the spine.
It was not an easy read, both for the content and the writing style. The story shifts constantly from the present to a retelling of distorted memories of the narrator. Every time I made myself comfortable with a “That really couldn’t happen here” thought, Atwood added some little detail that made it painfully obvious that it could. It’s a brilliant book, but I don’t think I’ll want to read it again.

( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Сильная вещь. Изумительный язык (хотя я таки умудр​илась найти место, где подумала "канадка!": не мож​ет человек в Кембридже/Бостоне искать ​washroom, там restrooms).
И мне она совсем не показалась феминистской. Дело ​же не в правах женщин, а в слепом следовании любой​ религиозной доктрине вообще. Мужчинам тоже неслад​ко. Все оказываются бесправными, если законы устан​авливает - или истолковывает - диктатура. ​
Пугающая книга, честно. Особенно если задуматься н​ад тем, что сейчас происходит в России. ​

Хотела порекомендовать книгу знакомым, заглянула в​ русский перевод и ужаснулась. Вот уж поистине "Ра​збой! Грабеж! Меня он перевёл!" То есть перевела, ​конечно - Настик Грызунова во всей своей красе ((.​
( )
  Rezeda | May 27, 2016 |

On my quest in search of Dystopian books, I came across The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It seemed to have all the ingredients to make this book very interesting.

A culture war had been fought and the ultra religious winners have stripped women of all their rights. Women are only used as breeding machines, since there seems to be some trouble with reproduction. What I thought to be really interesting, is that the main character isn't born into this world. She has seen the change, and even though she doesn't agree (of course) she isn't the heroine who's come to save the world.

I believe this to be a very interesting novel, and I'm planning to read other books by Margaret Atwood. ( )
  Floratina | May 26, 2016 |
Please read the full review on Weighing A Pig

A lot has been written about this book. It’s on number 37 of American Library Association’s list of 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000, and that’s ‘challenged’ as in ‘banned on certain schools’ too. There has been lots of feminist discussion of the book as well – both favorable and unfavorable. The content of this books mixes sexuality, hardline religion, totalitarian politics, reproductive oppression and American culture in one explosive cocktail: perfect tinder to kindle a debate among the participants of the culture wars.

I don’t have the time nor the energy to contribute a lot to those debates. Atwood seems to have written a book that makes people think, and I can’t object to that. As far as the feminist debate goes, I’ll only say this: I have the feeling this book neither vilifies men nor simply victimizes women, and as such I think it’s intelligent and balanced.


I’m not sure the book worked for me.

It does succeed – masterfully even – to evoke an atmosphere. In that respect, the first person narration of a woman who is reduced to someone whose sole purpose is breeding works very well. The novel has a claustrophobic atmosphere, and just as the protagonist is kept uninformed and shielded off, the reader too only gets glimpses of the totality of the world and times the book is set in.

The prose is excellent, poetic even. Atwood manages to evoke a lot without that many words, and for me this is her true strength. The book is only 324 pages, but it’s not a light, quick read, as one needs the concentrate in order not to miss anything.

(...) ( )
  bormgans | May 17, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 568 (next | show all)
As a cautionary tale, Atwood's novel lacks the direct, chilling plausibility of Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World. It warns against too much: heedless sex, excessive morality, chemical and nuclear pollution. All of these may be worthwhile targets, but such a future seems more complicated than dramatic. But Offred's narrative is fascinating in a way that transcends tense and time: the record of an observant soul struggling against a harsh, mysterious world.
added by Shortride | editTime, Paul Gray (Feb 10, 1986)
How sad for postfeminists that one does not feel for Offred-June half as much as one did for Winston Smith, no hero either but at any rate imaginable. It seems harsh to say again of a poet's novel - so hard to put down, in part so striking - that it lacks imagination, but that, I fear, is the problem.
It's a bleak world that Margaret Atwood opens up for us in her new novel, ''The Handmaid's Tale'' - how bleak and even terrifying we will not fully realize until the story's final pages. But the sensibility through which we view this world is infinitely rich and abundant. And that's why Miss Atwood has succeeded with her anti-Utopian novel where most practitioners of this Orwellian genre have tended to fail.

» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Battey, FrancesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danes, ClaireNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibthorp, FletcherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister, and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.

And Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, Am I in God's stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb?

And she said, Behold my maid Bihah, go in unto her, and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her
-- Genesis 30:1-3
But as to myself, having been wearied out for many years with offering vain, idle, visionary thoughts, and at length utterly despairing of success, I fortunately fell upon this proposal. . .
-- Jonathan Swift, A Modest Proposal
In the desert there is no sign that says, Thou shalt not eat stones.
-- Sufi proverb
For Mary Webster and Perry Miller
First words
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and, try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our own day.
Time has not stood still. It has washed over me, washed me away, as if I’m nothing more than a woman of sand, left by a careless child too near the water.
The shell of the egg is smooth but also grained; small pebbles of calcium are defined by the sunlight, like craters on the moon. It's a barren landscape, yet perfect; it's the sort of desert the saints went into, so their minds would not be distracted by profusions. I think that this is what God must look like: an egg. The life of the moon may not be on the surface, but inside.
But remember that forgiveness too is a power. To beg for it is a power, and to withold or bestow it is a power, perhaps the greatest. Maybe none of this is about control...Maybe it's about who can do what to whom and be forgiven for it. Never tell me it amounts to the same thing.
There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia, freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don't underrate it.
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
The Reading Guide Edition is the substantial equivalent the main Handmaid's Tale work, with a few additional pages of questions for groups to consider at the back. Please therefore leave these works combined together. Thank you
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Wikipedia in English (6)

Book description
From the back of the book: Offred is a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the commander and his wife once a day to walk to food market 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 in an age of declining births, Offredd and the other handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offredd 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…..
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038549081X, Paperback)

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She 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 in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:22 -0400)

(see all 9 descriptions)

A look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 13 descriptions

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