The Handmaid's Tale (German) Paperback – 1 Sep 2005
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"'Moving, vivid and terrifying. I only hope it's not prophetic' Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Listener"
"'The Handmaid's Tale is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story' Angela Carter"
"'Our of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perceptions, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit' Peter Kemp, Independent"
"'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"
"'Powerful...admirable' Robert Irwin, Time Out" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
'Compulsively readable' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I can now credit this book with opening the door to a whole different world of books from what I was used to- books that demanded me to THINK.
And, being only 16, and not reading this book as part of my English class but rather just for myself, I was swept away by it.
Then, a couple of years ago, I got hold of a copy and read it again, curious if it would still seem so mind-blowing (I remember re-reading my beloved Narnia stories as an adult and getting the shock of my life).
And I can say that, half a life later, this book remains one of the best books I have ever read. Why?
I am still amazed at the author's imagination. How did she manage to describe the menace of a totalitarian regime so well? Science Fiction often dates quickly, seeming at best naive decades after it was written. And for me, reading this book 20-odd years after it was written, in this older and wiser post-9/11 world, certain aspects of the book took on new meaning (religious fundamental regime, strict rules about women's dress, football stadium executions).
It may not be a perfect book, but I think it is worth reading for its ideas (and warnings). And all that aside, it's a gripping read!
The story centres around one of these handmaids, 0ffred and her life as a potential surrogate mother to a childless couple: a high ranking commander and his wife, Serena Joy. In this future American dystopia, as set out by Margaret Atwood, sex is very tightly controlled (under pain of death) and yet in spite of this powerful disincentive Offred is drawn into a complex web of transgressive relationships that are bubbling away under the surface of this supposedly perfectly ordered society. The political vision outlined in this novel is genuinely terrifying and Margaret Atwood has shown much skill in highlighting all of the potential tensions and contradictions that would be likely to occur in such a society. However, the 'religious right' in America are a declining cultural force and I'm not sure many people today worry about a fundamentalist Christian take over of America (America has changed enormously since the book was written) but I still found it to be a very compelling read about what can happen when the wrong people are in charge.
In this dystopian alternative present, Offred is a handmaid, assigned to a Commander and his `infertile' wife. Her only reason to live, to be allowed to live, is for procreation. In the land of Gilead, once the United States, women have been suppressed almost entirely. Eyes watch for anyone behaving out of the allowed norms that have been established, and punishment is either execution, to later be hung on display on the wall surrounding the centre of Gilead, or to be sent to the poisoned and radioactive lands and for an untimely and painful death. For now, Offred is avoiding the latter fate, but only by performing a monthly ceremony, the culmination of which involves the Commander inseminating her.
But her time is running short. If she does not fall pregnant soon, she will be sent to the poisoned lands in disgrace. When she continually fails to fall pregnant, Offred, aided by the Commander's wife, looks elsewhere for viable sperm.
What stayed with me after finishing this novel, other than the desperate need to find out the rest of her tale, and my feeling of abandonment by the author in not finishing the handmaid's tale (she left me hungering for more, much more), was the method in which the book was ended. Without giving too much more away, I was offended by the documentary style finish. Not offended as in unhappy with the author, but offended by the last characters I met. How dare they refer to Offred so casually, laugh at her issues, make light of her life.Read more ›
Think about your ability to browse through an internet shop, the power you have to earn money, to hold it and to choose how you spend it. Think about your right to education, should you chose to exercise it. Think about warmth and love and husbands and children.
Imagine all that taken away, the sense of loss, love vanquished, family disappeared, and the comfort of books denied you. Imagine women colluding in oppressing their own sex.
But there is redemption in subversion and small acts of defiance.
It's a clever book, ideas subtly woven, like a fairy tale invoking the dark with the faint promise of light.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There are so may reviews already that there's not very much to say. Some people seem to find the story slow going, but that's one of the things I liked about it. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Andy Phillips
Really boring. I don't get the hype around it. I couldn't even finish it - gave up halfway through which is rare for me. A real shame as I am a big fan of Atwood's other books.Published 5 days ago by Alex Moscovici
This is SUCH a pretty cover/edition of the book and the overall quality was fantastic. Its your standard book quality with soft yellow tinged paper and non-staining ink. Read morePublished 28 days ago by Sara
A good, thought-provoking read. Classic Margaret. Attwood.Published 1 month ago by Richard Saunders
This is a modern classic and Margaret Atwood a great storyteller!Published 1 month ago by Jean Avery
This book has arrived with pages at the bottom of the book incorrectly cut by the manufacturer leaving it impossible to open the pages!!Published 1 month ago by Lisa Harris