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The Handmaid's Tale (Contemporary Classics) Paperback – 5 Jul 1996

4.3 out of 5 stars 1,051 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 July 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099740915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099740919
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,051 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"Compulsively readable" Daily Telegraph "Out of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perceptions, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit" -- Peter Kemp Independent "The Handmaid's Tale is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story" -- Angela Carter "Moving, vivid and terrifying. I only hope it's not prophetic" -- Conor Cruise O'Brien The Listener "The images of brilliant emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel about totalitarian blindness...the effect is chilling" -- Linda Taylor Sunday Times

Book Description

Now a smash-hit Channel 4 TV series

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Absolutely agree with what another reviewer said, gripped, could not put it down and then a cliff hanger ending? No no no! So disappointed, it was like the author couldn't decide on an ending so she just left it open. I need to know! Really hoping the TV series ends differently as it's not 100% the same as the book anyway.
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Margaret Atwood keeps your interest engaged at a high level with this tale of an age of female subservience and state initiated breeding. One can see how society could actually subside into this hell on earth without too much imagination. It's a salutary tale, well written and engaging especially with its unexpected conclusion.
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I have re-read this three times already, it is so gripping. You don't want to miss a single nuanced phrase or passage.
There is so much that is a metaphor for our times, bearing in mind that this was written in 1985. It is a deeply dystopian world where the birth rate has plummeted to almost zero and of the few babies that are born, a lot are shredders. That means not sustainable and they die within short space of time. Women who have been shown to have had live births are very valuable and are captured to be turned into the eponymous Handmaids.
It transpires much later that many ​of the men have been rendered sterile by a vaccine but this is not allowed to be generally known or discussed. Everything is carried out in a quasi-religious manner and the hand-maidens themselves are taught they are chosen by Him to do His work for the Commanders whose wives cannot bear children.
It soon becomes clear that these men are no different to the rest of humanity, just as flawed and corrupt, one law for the rest and one for themselves.
I cannot recommend this book too highly, it is one of the very best things I have ever read and everyone ought to read it at least once.
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I saw this was coming on tv so I thought I'd read the book first. It's an easy read and really thought provoking. Quite horrifying in parts and you can see the slippery slope it has been to get to the state they're in. I must admit I'm actually preferring the tv series to the book though. It has more drama and has really filled in the background that the book misses out a lot on. And it takes it further past the ending the book has. The writing in the book though is good and I was eager to come back to reading it when I had a spare half hour.
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Gripping tale open ended outcome. A study of human behaviour that makes us question how we behave. Comply or revolt?
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Re-read this after many years, to refresh my memory while watching the Channel 4 version. Excellent book if you like dystopia, which I do. The book is amazingly prescient about what is happening to women in parts of the world today, although not necessarily where it was set at time of writing.
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This has to be one of the best books I have ever read. It kept my attention throughout and had me completely gripped. I can lose attention easily if I find something dull however with the plot remaining quite mysterious throughout it helped keep my attention. Would highly recommend to someone looking for a book that doesn't give everything away!
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The writing is so unique, intense and meandering at the same time. The story is beautiful and terrifying. It draws you in in spite of yourself....like watching a car crash from behind soundproof glass. Simply a stunning piece of work.
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