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The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale (original 1985; edition 2006)

by Margaret Atwood

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23,02055050 (4.11)1413
Title:The Handmaid's Tale
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Cornelsen Verlag GmbH C (2006), Paperback, 136 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

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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 1413 mentions

English (527)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Dutch (2)  Catalan (2)  Swedish (2)  Finnish (2)  German (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (545)
Showing 1-5 of 527 (next | show all)
I don't think I should write a review on this book as it's so well known. I would just only say that it left a profound impression and almost left me in tears. Highly recommended to anyone. ( )
  kara-karina | Nov 20, 2015 |
This was my second attempt at reading this one. Put it down the first time because I couldn't get into it enough to keep up with the reading schedule I was supposed to keep. It was originally an assignment for a creative nonfiction writing class I took in college. Which makes sense as that is how the book is written, especially once you get to the Historical Notes section at the end.

What really gripped me about this dystopia of Gilead is how easy the insurrection was. With what could be called "one bad day," America was overtaken by an uber-religious band who created their version of a proper society, where women had no rights and were used as labor and breeders by people of influence. The bizarre rituals surrounding procreation in this new society are even more disturbing, both the procreation rituals and the way enemies of the state are dispatched.

Offred makes a great narrator because she isn't one hundred percent on the details. It's clear that this story is being told well after it happened, as she is foggy on the specifics and there are several moments where she says "I wish I didn't have to tell this part of the story." Also, the Historical Notes shed some light on the world she was living in from a detached, outsiders perspective, which is a nice counterpoint to the rest of the book.

I'd definitely put this on my list of must-read dystopian novels along with Orwell's 1984 and Huxley's A Brave New World. The Handmaid's Tale fits right along side the greats. ( )
  regularguy5mb | Nov 17, 2015 |
Enjoyed the first half greatly but I thought it bogged down in the middle and petered out. I never did care about the characters and thought the world, while believable at least in theory, was poorly fleshed out, although, to be fair, the world itself wasn't all that important to the author's intention. Anyway, interesting to a degree, but dull, and I found the writing unremarkable. ( )
  Michael.Xolotl | Nov 11, 2015 |
This is one of those classics that I'm embarrassed to admit that I hadn't read. Blasphemous, I know.Twenty seven years on this earth and I'm JUST NOW getting to this sensationally, classic, and groundbreaking work?!?! I feel like my librarian card would have been revoked had I not gotten to it when I did. I read this book from start to finish in less than 24 hours, so it was good to know that all the hype was true. This book is hard to put down. I was riveted from the get go. This dystopian novel of gender inequality and sex and politics, remains as relevant today as when it was first published three decades ago. I won't do justice summarizing the book. Trust me, just dive right in. You won't regret it. It's timeless and will stay with you long after you finish reading it. ( )
1 vote ecataldi | Nov 11, 2015 |
The Handmaids Tale, a story depicting a dystopian society illustrating the divide between state and church and the removal of women rights, is illustrated in a disturbing and controversial novel. This novel includes demented and absurd sex scenes, that can be classified as little more than awkward and unsettling porn. This award winning book includes striking imagery and description, but in scenes where less detail would be preferred. Overall an interesting and thought provoking story was ruined by the inclusion of less than desirable sexual behaviors, incestuous rape and overalls intimate relationships. I would discourage anyone from reading this, unless they wish to engulf themselves in a concubine fantasy and world of rape advance the human population. ( )
  Mikayla_Hubner | Nov 3, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 527 (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
Atwood, Margaretmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Atwood, Margaretmain 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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