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The Handmaid's Tale (1985)

by Margaret Atwood

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Handmaid's Tale (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
42,942115546 (4.11)1 / 2207
This 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.
  1. 838
    1984 by George Orwell (cflorente, norabelle414, Schwehnchen)
  2. 614
    Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (ateolf)
  3. 493
    Brave New World & Brave New World Revisited by Aldous Huxley (fannyprice)
  4. 423
    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.
  5. 264
    The Road by Cormac McCarthy (mrstreme)
  6. 211
    Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Schwehnchen, mcenroeucsb)
  7. 171
    Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood (smiteme)
  8. 259
    A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess (wosret)
  9. 2411
    The Giver by Lois Lowry (cflorente)
  10. 130
    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.
  11. 120
    The Gate to Women's Country by Sheri S. Tepper (lesvrolyk)
  12. 100
    When She Woke by Hillary Jordan (sparemethecensor)
    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)
  13. 101
    We by Yevgeny Zamyatin (themephi)
  14. 167
    V for Vendetta by Alan Moore (readerbabe1984)
  15. 102
    The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood (smiteme)
  16. 114
    The Red Tent by Anita Diamant (wosret, Kaelkivial)
    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.
  17. 81
    The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin (LamontCranston)
  18. 82
    Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (k8_not_kate)
  19. 60
    I Who Have Never Known Men by Jacqueline Harpman (wosret)
  20. 82
    The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist (bookcrushblog)

(see all 66 recommendations)

1980s (1)
AP Lit (51)
Florida (20)
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» See also 2207 mentions

English (1,099)  Spanish (15)  French (7)  Dutch (5)  Catalan (5)  German (4)  Italian (3)  Swedish (3)  Finnish (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Danish (1)  Arabic (1)  Hebrew (1)  Norwegian (1)  All languages (1,149)
Showing 1-5 of 1099 (next | show all)
Some moments were repetitive. But literally who cares?? It was great ( )
  yosistachrista | Jul 22, 2024 |
I picked this up not really knowing what to expect. This was an incredibly dark and horrifying look at the extreme ends of patterns which are clearly visible today.
  ohheybrian | Jul 21, 2024 |
[reread] after rereading this, i think i got so much more out of it (so much i upped the rating 0.5 stars). the 'stream of consciousness' writing style is somewhat reminiscent of sally rooney's (even though i know this was published before). i love that so much of the novel is up for interpretation (even though possible 'clues' are left throughout), as it think it only enhances what offred and the handmaid's must feel re. not knowing for certain what is going on / what really happens at the end of the main narrative. ( )
  abiiharrisonn | Jul 6, 2024 |
I always find it amazing how the written language can move the soul in ways that make us feel different emotions.

This book was AMAZING. It has all the right elements in one space. The subtle references to the past; the feminist views; and even the lecture at the end of the book, makes this novel relevant to today's current events.

There are so many emotions going through my mind that I have no idea how I feel right now...in a good way. The narrator, never eve making her real name, paints a picture where women are being marginalized by women and men.

I would most definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopian novels, and is a feminist at heart :) ( )
  prebs29 | Jul 6, 2024 |
Shocking tale ( )
  Rostie | Jul 2, 2024 |
Showing 1-5 of 1099 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, AnnaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Balbusso, ElenaIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Boyd, FlorenceCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danes, ClaireNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
David, JoannaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marcellino, FredCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Martin, ValerieIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moss, ElisabethNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pennati, CamilloTranslatorsecondary 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.)
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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 (4)

This 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.

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Average: (4.11)
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