- File Size: 2746 KB
- Print Length: 325 pages
- Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (February 17, 1986)
- Publication Date: February 17, 1986
- Sold by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Language: English
- ASIN: B003JFJHTS
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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The Handmaid's Tale Kindle Edition
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
From the Publisher
"The Handmaid's Tale is in the honorable tradition of Brave New World and other warnings of dystopia. It's imaginative even audacious, and conveys a chilling sense of fear and menace."-The Globe and Mail
"The Handmaid's Tale brings out the very best in Atwood--moral vision, biting humor, and a poet's imagination."-Chatelaine --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
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I confess, I couldn’t finish the book. I couldn’t force myself to endure more than 115 pages peppered with complete and unnecessary gibberish. ‘If I have an egg, what more can I want?’ There are tons of this fluff.
Atwood’s view of the future, and I assume that’s what I think we must consider that she intends, is poppycock. A nightmare with no beginning, middle or end. If this is what is in store for us, count me out.
I was interested in a storyline or two along the way, but the author refused to develop them, instead droning on and on about meaningless details in the heroine’s life, or existence.
I couldn’t go any further. My mind kept drifting to all the really entertaining stories out there, waiting to be read and enjoyed. Why was I wasting precious time reading tripe?
The surprising part, despite it's lack of quotation marks and zero structure, I read this quite fast. I'm incredibly surprised this was written by a woman. I get she wanted to make this a creepy tale of what if and get all gritty and scary with this patriarchy having taken over, but why write this and go through this entire thing to not have the women rise up? Why not show the resistance, why not have them at least hint at the end that there was hope of them gaining freedom again? Why write this at all without an ending. Anyone who has read any of my other reviews or knows me at all knows that what I hate more than anything in any work of literature is no ending. To leave an open ended book is to say you want the reader to do your work for you. It's a cop out to me. Why invest so much , build this whole story up and then not finish it? Drives me insane. Also I'm sorry but the quickness in which the terrorist attack and the new reign took over is a bit hard to swallow. Seems the author enjoyed trying to write the most cruel and unusual scenes in order to shock and terrify the reader instead of focusing more on the true story at hand. Just a big meh from me.
I’ve just added this title to my list of ‘extra special’ books, but somehow that label doesn’t fit right for The Handmaid’s Tale. Don’t get me wrong. It is without a doubt a fabulous work of fiction, superbly written, and with an unforgettable storyline. But ‘extra-special’ to me indicates something wonderful, pleasant. And nothing about this book can be described as pleasant. The words stark, horrific, prophetic, terrifying and too-close-for-comfort spring to mind.
I read this book before. I think it may have been fifteen years ago. The story, for the most part, stuck with me. But, I have to admit that it could almost have been two different books—they certainly were two very different reading experiences. All those years ago I read a fascinating piece of speculative, dystopian fiction. Even then it felt all too plausible, but not in an immediate way.
Re-reading the book now, given the political climate we now find ourselves living with, the story feels less speculative, almost less fictional. It doesn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination anymore to visualize a scenario as we encounter in this book, unfolding around us in real time.
“Ordinary is what you are used to. This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.”
There is so much in this book to scare a person witless. You read this book and you can imagine how it might happen, and worse, how it might swallow you up too. There’s an insidious quality to this story, making the outrageous borderline logical, acceptable even. I found myself reading certain sections several times, knowing that what I’d read was wrong, but having a hard time pinpointing exactly why or where. I’m not sure whether I’m impressed or horrified that this book made me understand how people get drawn in to, and learn to live with, a situation that’s against their personal best interest.
“We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn’t the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Nothing changes instantaneously.”
But, think about it. In a time when humanity is threatened because fertility is down, doesn’t it make sense to mobalize those women who are still able to give birth? Just as countries have for centuries mobilized men (and more recently women) in times of war?
“Already we were losing the taste for freedom, already we were finding these walls secure.”
And that’s of course another worrying truth. While people may say they value their freedom, far too many seem to find comfort in being told what to do, think, and say. Humanity is supposed to stand out among mammals because of our capacity for independent thought, but all too often and all too many of us prefer to live without thinking too hard, happy to ‘follow orders’ without contemplating the consequences—for ourselves and for others.
There was so very much in this story that horrified me and made me angry. But there was only one section that truly broke my heart: when Offred apologies, near the end of the book. Apologizes for acting on the need to connect with another.
While I’m sad that the story doesn’t reveal what really happened to Offred, or even whether the end of her story is positive or negative, I do appreciate it was the perfect way to conclude the tale. An answer to the ‘what happened next’ question, regardless of what that answer would have been, would have robbed this story of much of its power. It is because the story ends the way it does that I found myself going over what I’d read and what I hoped/feared/imagined followed Offred’s tale.
This is, without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve ever read. It is also among those stories that stay with me forever, because it is too unique, too shocking, and/or too thought-provoking to ever fade.
Top international reviews
If I had to use one word to describe this book it would be "terrifying". I simply loved it!
The ending was pretty bad too, so many facts and words that didn't add any substance. I would not recommend this.
Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was in my TBR list since long. Thanks to one of online book club,I read recently and really amazed with it.
As it is well-known fact that it’s a story set in distant future in dystopian USA. Country’s President is killed and parliament has been dissolved. Army takes over charges of entire nation. It is not regular army but Republic of Gilead.Its totalitarian regime governed by men only.
Entire story is narrated by protagonist Offred through tape recordings.
Offred is Handmaid. She is thirty -three. Her only job is to breed. Offred is not her real name. In Gilead society, all the basic human rights and freedom from women is taken away. They become second citizens. They have been categorized into Wives and Daughters of Commanders,Handmaids,Marthas and Aunts. Their functions and clothes are fixed according to their category and strictly watched by Guardians. If they don’t follow their duties, they are either hanged on wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness.
Story begins when Offred is newly posted in a commander’s house. She lives with commander, his wife, two housemaids and driver of commander.
Offred continually remembers her past throughout the story. She has a husband, a five year old daughter, a mother and a best friend. What became of them, she does not know.
Handmaids are allowed to go for walk and grocery shopping once in a day in pair. Offred is paired with Offglen. At the begging both they pretend as real believers of Gilead but as time passes they realize they are haters. Offglen is belonged to underground network of rebels who help people to cross border and disappear.She eventually hangs herself.
As the story progress, commander asks Offred to spend some time with him during night in his cabin in his wife’s absence. They talk,play scrabble and he asks for goodnight kiss. On the other hand, as Offred is not yet become pregnant,so commander’s his wife asks Offred to conceive child through his driver, Nick. This one night stand turns into passionate affair with Nick. They are not in love but they make love every single night. But at the end, a black car of Guardians arrives at commander’s house to take her away. So why she has been taken away? Who has made call to Guardians? What become of Offred eventually??
As story is set in dystopia, it is obviously disturbing read. But I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was quite comfortable read for me unlike Disgrace by J.MCotezee which was not even dystopian novel.
Handmaid’s Tale is considered as modern classic. But unlike other dystopian classics, this novel is narration driven rather than plot.
Margaret Atwood had fascination towards dystopian set-up since her early days. She has read and great fan of Orwell’s 1984, Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Huxley’s Brave New World to name a few.
Offred seems real character. She hates her present and wantsto escape but does not have courage. As she has only one job of breeding and she is being taken care of by housemaids, she has plenty of time to spare. So she observes her surrounding and takes notes in mind. She has sharp observation skills. She remembers each and every minor detail of her daily routine and memories from past. She makes love with Nick without guilt as she feels something humanly in it in that in-human world. She even tells her real name to Nick.
There are other characters but all are narrated through Offred. So we may not get their real persona. They might have come out as with different personalities if story would have been narrated in third person.
The strongest and best part about the whole book is flow of lyrical narration. Lyrics are sad yet beautiful. Once in a while,we come across such rhythmic narration in fiction.It never loses its pace for a moment during entire story.
Author has used so many fabulous illustrations ,metaphors to describe the pain and heaviness of situation.
“The newspapers stories were like to dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How, awful, we would say ,and they were, but they were awful without being believable. They were too melodramatic; they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people not in the papers. We lived in the blank pages at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom.” (Page 89)
The only part I did not like is its open ending.Author let readers to imagine the ultimate fate of Offred.It would have been great,if we could know Offred’s destiny.
After reading this book I felt so grateful that I live in a world where such things are only on papers!
So grab this book if you want to witness dystopian painting of pain painted by one of the greatest artists alive today.
Not for me.