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The Testaments: The Sequel to The…
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The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale (original 2019; edition 2019)

by Margaret Atwood (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,4121622,833 (4.07)233
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The handmaid’s tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.… (more)
Member:alicia.becker
Title:The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale
Authors:Margaret Atwood (Author)
Info:Nan A. Talese (2019), Edition: First Ed, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
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Work details

The Testaments by Margaret Atwood (2019)

  1. 00
    Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (vwinsloe)
  2. 01
    Abigail by Magda Szabó (Dilara86)
    Dilara86: One is speculative fiction, the other isn't, but they both take place in a girls-only school at a time of war/unrest and describe female microcosms, friendships between teenage girls and ambiguous authority figures.
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» See also 233 mentions

English (153)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  German (2)  French (2)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
I’ve been torn about reading The Testaments. Don’t get me wrong - I’m a big Margaret Atwood fan. The Handmaid’s Tale is a standard-bearer of dystopian literature and is included in English courses. (My son is borrowing my copy for his upcoming class.)

When The Handmaid’s Tale was published, an attack on the US Capitol was a credible but unlikely plot point, so readers could stay insulated from Gilead. When The Testaments was published, those previously unlikely plot points were gaining credibility. An attack on the US Capitol has happened, and our society is more deeply divided. Gilead is closer now.

The Handmaid’s Tale was scary when it was originally published because it was well-written, and is arguably scarier now. Since The Testaments is not written as well as its predecessor, the fear - and associated impacts - shrinks.

The first book described Gilead life through the eyes of a Handmaid. The Testaments focuses on the experiences of three different characters - a Canadian girl, a Daughter of Gilead, and Aunt Lydia. It’s hard to be drawn into the girls’ stories since they’re new characters with a minimal description of their lives. Aunt Lydia is a bigger disappointment. In the first book, she was an imposing force for the cause. But in the second book, she’s a caricature.

I’ve read The Handmaid’s Tale multiple times, and I still feel uneasy just thinking about the book. While I’m glad I read The Testaments, it’s forgettable. ( )
  life2reinvent | Jul 20, 2021 |
This was much better than I expected with an uplifting ending. I recommend reading it. It puts you in a positive space in the end ( )
  scoene | Jul 13, 2021 |
Margaret Atwood must have thought that, in these trying times, we needed a happy ending to the Handmaid's Tale. In this sequel, the book revolves around the writings of three characters: Aunt Lydia (with a different backstory than the TV show), and June Osborne's daughters. They tell their stories, Aunt Lydia from the fall of the US and the rise of Gilead, Agnes, from her early childhood in Gilead, and Nicole, from her adolescence in Canada where she was smuggled from Gilead while a baby (the famed Baby Nicole). Aunt Lydia is shown as less a true believer than in the show, but more cynical and ruthless, and just as evil. Gilead is a pile of rot, as is any theocracy.
This is a page turner and a gripping tale. ( )
1 vote SocProf9740 | Jul 11, 2021 |
A dystopian classic. I think she struck the right balance between writing a good story and creating interesting characters, and layering the perhaps not so vague political commentary. ( )
  geoff79 | Jul 11, 2021 |
When Margaret Atwood announced a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, I was nervous that it wouldn't live up to the hype. Thankfully it does.

In The Testaments, she flips the script: the narrators are Agnes, a girl in Gilead; Daisy, a girl living in Canada; and the infamous Aunt Lydia. Lydia is the standout here. She's manipulative, treacherous, conniving, and ruthless. And very, very funny. She has no illusions about what she's done or the costs of her power. As terrible a person as she is, she's a joy to read. .

The Testaments is about much more than religion or theocracy--it's about power. Who wields it, how it's created, how people lower in the hierarchy create and hoard it. Lydia uses her place within the Gileadean system to oppress those below her--but also to manipulate those above her when possible.

The plot is serviceable and well paced, but the real joy of this novel is in character and theme. It's spot on. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 153 (next | show all)
Agency and strength, Atwood seems to be suggesting, do not require a heroine with the visionary gifts of Joan of Arc, or the ninja skills of a Katniss Everdeen or Lisbeth Salander — there are other ways of defying tyranny, participating in the resistance or helping ensure the truth of the historical record. The very act of writing or recording one’s experiences, Atwood argues, is “an act of hope.” Like messages placed in bottles tossed into the sea, witness testimonies count on someone, somewhere, being there to read their words [...]
 

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atwood, Margaretprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bar, NomaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dean, SuzanneCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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“Every woman is supposed to have the same set of motives, or else to be a monster.” —GEORGE ELIOT, DANIEL DERONDA
“When we look one another in the face, we’re neither of us just looking at a face we hate—no, we’re gazing into a mirror….Do you really not recognize yourselves in us…?” —OBERSTURMBANNFÜHRER LISS TO OLD BOLSHEVIK MOSTOVSKOY, VASILY GROSSMAN, LIFE AND FATE
“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake….It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one.” —URSULA K. LE GUIN, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN
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Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive.
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When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The handmaid’s tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

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