The Handmaid's Tale

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Feb 17, 1986 - Fiction - 311 pages
477 Reviews
Now a Hulu Original Series

The Handmaid’s Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - winterdragon -

First of all I want to say this book was amazingly written and I loved it. However, it was kind of creepy how well the ideas in this book apply to what is happening now a days. While it is not one of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - patriciau -

This is one of those books I should have read a long time ago, but just got around to it. It is, I think, appropriate that I finished this book today, the day that hundreds of thousands of women are ... Read full review

All 9 reviews »


II Shopping
III Night
IV Waiting Room
V Nap
VI Household
VII Night
VII Birth Day
IX Night
XII Jezebels
XIII Night
XIV Salvaging
XV Night
Back Matter
Back Flap
Back Cover

X Soul Scrolls
XI Night

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (1986)

MARGARET ATWOOD is the author of more than forty books of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale (now a Hulu series) her novels include The Blind Assassin (winner of the Booker Prize), Alias Grace (winner of the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy), The Robber Bride, Cat’s Eye, The Penelopiad, The Heart Goes Last, and Hag-Seed, a novel revisitation of Shakespeare’s play The Tempest, for the Hogarth Shakespeare Project. Her latest book of short stories is Stone Mattress: Nine Tales.  She is also the author of the graphic novel Angel Cat­bird (with cocreator Johnnie Christmas). Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.

Bibliographic information