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The Handmaid's Tale (Contemporary…
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The Handmaid's Tale (Contemporary Classics) (original 1985; edition 1996)

by Margaret Atwood

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
24,99463044 (4.11)1568
Member:JonnySaunders
Title:The Handmaid's Tale (Contemporary Classics)
Authors:Margaret Atwood
Info:Vintage (1996), Edition: New edition, Paperback, 324 pages
Collections:Owned - Hard Copy, Read, Your library
Rating:****
Tags:1001 Books

Work details

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (1985)

  1. 615
    1984 by George Orwell (cflorente, norabelle414, Schwehnchen)
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    Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro (readerbabe1984, rosylibrarian, ateolf, browner56)
    browner56: Two chilling, though extremely well written, reminders that liberty, freedom, and self-determination are not idle concepts.
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  5. 234
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (mrstreme)
  6. 140
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (smiteme)
  7. 120
    Herland by Charlotte Perkins Gilman (krazy4katz)
    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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    Kaelkivial: Both stories of strong women who resist (in one form or another) the system that holds them down. Both books fairly fast paced and gripping; acts of violence and loss scattered throughout.
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(see all 51 recommendations)

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» See also 1568 mentions

English (608)  Spanish (4)  French (3)  Swedish (2)  Catalan (2)  Finnish (2)  Dutch (2)  German (1)  Norwegian (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  All (627)
Showing 1-5 of 608 (next | show all)
The Handmaid's Tale is the second Margaret Atwood book I have read. I really enjoyed Oryx and Crake , and was looking forward to this. I watched the movie with Natasha Richardson years ago, and liked it quite a bit.

This book was similar to Oryx and Crake in that the how society crumbled is not so much the story as are the people who are trying to cope with their present situation. Where Atwood effectively garnered sympathy for Snowman in Oryx and Crake with beautiful, descriptive language, the same was not true for Offred in Handmaid's Tale. Even though her situation was deplorable, the telling of her story did not generate feelings of sympathy. The story was told in a rather flat manner. It lacked, for me, the elegant diction that I expected.

Where Atwood was effective was in bringing attention to the issues that women face. As a man, I think it's easy to think that women don't face significant injustice and bias, but this story was eye-opening to the problems women face that society takes for granted.

As an African American, though, it was easy to see correlations between the message in the book as it pertains to women to my first hand experience as a part of the black community.

Overall, I was intrigued enough to learn what would be Offred's fate, but mostly I found Atwood's message came across very strong and detracted from my enjoyment of the story. ( )
  BlackAsh13 | Mar 27, 2017 |
I am haunted. ( )
  eslee | Mar 20, 2017 |
A Bookcrossing friend sent me this book, for which I am very grateful. Dystopian literature is not my genre of choice, but I'm finding this enthralling. Thank you, stinalyn!
  FancyHorse | Mar 14, 2017 |
A dystopian society, gilead, takes over after they stage a coup and destroy the American government structure. Women are relegated to being breeding material, if they're fortunate. Suicide is a common way out. They lose their identities and names, become "Offred" or "Ofwarren" and submit to Aunts, Wives, Guardians, all the while the Eye watches everyone. Offred is the main character, and she takes the reader with her through her days, and nights, and also her memories of her husband and daughter. She is a Handmaid, meant to bear children to offset the negative population curve. Hrd to believe this was written in 1985, in light of the current political upheaval now with DT as President and the conservative majority of the legislature. ( )
  geepee56 | Mar 13, 2017 |
I have actually read this book before, several years ago. This futuristic look at, apparently, a theocracy is very thought provoking. Women are truly under the control of men, and everything is tightly regulated. Things have gone wrong on many fronts, including many women not being able to have children. Thus the handmaids, whose sole purpose is to reproduce. I found myself thinking more deeply while reading this book than I generally do. I will reread this again, I am sure. ( )
  hobbitprincess | Mar 5, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 608 (next | show all)
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.
added by johnsmithsen | edittips dan trik, danifin (Dec 30, 2016)
 
Ithink, 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. :D
added by johnsmithsen | editinformasi, lowongan kerja (Dec 21, 2016)
 
A dystopian society, gilead, takes over after they stage a coup and destroy the American government structure. Women are relegated to being breeding material, if they're fortunate. Suicide is a common way out. They lose their identities and names, become "Offred" or "Ofwarren" and submit to Aunts, Wives, Guardians, all the while the Eye watches everyone. Offred is the main character, and she takes the reader with her through her days, and nights, and also her memories of her husband and daughter. She is a Handmaid, meant to bear children to offset the negative population curve. Hrd to believe this was written in 1985, in light of the current political upheaval now with DT as President and the conservative majority of the legislature
 
Just re-read this after first read in the 1980's. In these turbulent times of 2017, it seemed like a good book to revisit with my book group. Turns out many of us in the Washington Metro Area are reading it, along with 1984 and It Can’t Happen Here which are on the Washington Post’s paperback best seller list this week. The Handmaid’s Tale depicts a highly controlled theocracy sometime in the future where women are denigrated and assigned specific roles based on their husband’s wealth and power or lack thereof. The Handmaid’s role is to have babies for the powerful and the narrator tells us here tale. The final part of the book describes in a future anthropological conference how this type of societal structure came about which is one of the creepiest parts to read after finishing the scary novel. Read it for the dystopian vision and for Margaret Atwood’s writing which is masterful.
added by johnsmithsen | editlowongan kerja
 
Atwood is also the inventor, and developer, of the LongPen and associated technologies that facilitate the remote robotic writing of documents.She is the Co-Founder and a Director of Syngrafii Inc. (formerly Unotchit Inc.), a company that she started in 2004 to develop, produce and distribute the LongPen technology.She holds various patents related to the LongPen technologies.

While she is best known for her work as a novelist, she has also published fifteen books of poetry.Many of her poems have been inspired by myths and fairy tales, which have been interests of hers from an early age.Atwood has published short stories in Tamarack Review, Alphabet, Harper's, CBC Anthology, Ms., Saturday Night, and many other magazines. She has also published four collections of stories and three collections of unclassifiable short prose works.
 

» Add other authors (19 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alfsen, MereteTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Battey, FrancesCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danes, ClaireNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennati, CamilloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sibthorp, FletcherCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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
Dedication
For Mary Webster and Perry Miller
First words
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium.
Quotations
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 withhold 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
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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 (4)

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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