Title: The Handmaid’s Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Pages: 325 Pages
‘I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.’
Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford – her assigned name, Offred, means ‘of Fred’. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.
Masterfully conceived and executed, this haunting vision of the future places Margaret Atwood at the forefront of dystopian fiction.
I was always scared to read The Handmaid’s Tale. It is a much loved and revered book so it had that going for it but it is also part of the dystopian fiction genre which is not my favourite if truth be told. I didn’t want to alienate or anger my bookish friends who love this book if I actually hated it.
However, with the current political climate I felt that it was time to get over my fear and from what I knew about the story of The Handmaid’s Tale I figured that it was time to read it.
I loved it.
It was a novel that made me angry and made me engage with my feminist ideals and sensibilities. It also made me remember once again just how powerful the written word can be.
And yes, I have pre-ordered the sequel because dammit, I need to read more.
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margret Atwood is available now.
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