The Handmaid's Tale

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Feb 17, 1986 - Fiction - 311 pages
Before The Testaments, there was The Handmaid’s Tale: an instant classic and eerily prescient cultural phenomenon, from “the patron saint of feminist dystopian fiction” (New York Times).

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.
 

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User Review  - waldhaus1 - www.librarything.com

I enjoyed the book a lot. It is a statement about the trap of excessive fundamentalism. By imagining a fantasy circumstance the author allows the reader to consider the impact of authoritariam ... Read full review

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User Review  - nicolewbrown - www.librarything.com

It's not entirely clear what happened other than a terrorist attack took out the President and Congress leaving the United States under military rule. They kept promising elections but never delivered ... Read full review

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Contents

II Shopping
ii
III Night
35
IV Waiting Room
41
V Nap
67
VI Household
77
VII Night
101
VII Birth Day
107
IX Night
141
XII Jezebels
197
XIII Night
257
XIV Salvaging
265
XV Night
289
Back Matter
297
Back Flap
313
Back Cover
314
Spine
315

X Soul Scrolls
149
XI Night
189

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About the author (1986)

MARGARET ATWOOD is the author of more than forty works of fiction, poetry, and critical essays. She lives in Toronto.

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