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The Handmaid's Tale (German) Paperback – 1 Sep 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 586 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Klett Ernst /Schulbuch (Sept. 2005)
  • Language: German, English
  • ISBN-10: 3125776929
  • ISBN-13: 978-3125776920
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (586 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,628,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"'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.

Book Description

'Compulsively readable' Daily Telegraph --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I still don't know what inspired me to take this book home from the library that day back when I was 16- up until then the only "grown up" literature I had read had been formulaic historical romances of the Catherine Cookson variety.

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!
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Format: Paperback
The Handmaid's Tale is set in a future America where epidemics and pesticides have made the majority of the population sterile and in the face of catastrophically declining birthrates a right wing, Old Testament fundamentalist theocracy have used this crisis as a pretext to completely reorder the social structure of America. Only a handful of women are able to have children: the so-called 'Handmaids' who form a sort of slave class and act as 'second wives' to rich and powerful men so that they can reproduce. The Handmaids are indoctrinated beforehand as part of a special religious order and much of the novel is concerned with their conditioning process. Although ostensibly a Christian dictatorship the women are 'covered up' and they live their lives under something akin to an extreme form of 'Sharia' law as outlined by, say, the Iranian Revolution or more recently, the Taliban.

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood was recommended to me by a friend, and I was bowled over by the novel. I devoured it in a few days (a feat itself as I have a youngish family) and was left with that sad feeling, an almost a bereft feeling, I get when finishing a truly great novel.

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.
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Format: Paperback
... it's a rattling good read.
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.
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