The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood

June 2018

Gripping, easily read and comprehended, simple language, deeply moving tale told in the first person of a not too distant dystopia where the (former) USA is now the Republic of Gilead and women have no rights.

Thre Handmaid’s Tale (1985) is a work of speculative fiction by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. Set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian theocracy which has overthrown the United States government, the dystopian novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.

The story is told in the first person by a woman called Offred (literally Of-Fred). The character is one of a class of women kept for reproductive purposes and known as Handmaids by the ruling class in an era of declining births due to sterility from pollution and sexually transmitted diseases. Offred describes her life during her third assignment as a Handmaid, in this case to Commander Fred.

The Handmaid’s Tale won the 1985 Governor General’s Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award.

I read this totally engaging short novel in a few nights, on line, while Kingsley snored away.

Thoroughly recommended.