Title: The Handmaid’s Tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Pages: 325 Pages

Publisher: Vintage

The Blurb

‘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.


The Review

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.

For more information regarding Margaret Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) please visit www.margaetatwood.ca.

For more information regarding Vintage (@Vintagebooks) please visit po.st/VintageHomepage.

eileenTitle: Eileen

Author: Ottessa Moshfegh

Pages: 272 Pages

Publisher: Penguin Press

The Blurb

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop. Trapped between caring for her alcoholic father and her job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, she tempers her dreary days with dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, her nights and weekends are filled with shoplifting and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes.

When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted, unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. But soon, Eileen’s affection for Rebecca will pull her into a crime that far surpasses even her own wild imagination.

The Review

It has taken me a while to write this review. Not in minutes and seconds but in weeks. I read Eileen by Ottessa Mohfegh a few weeks ago and I wanted to wait to see if I felt any better about it rather than diving right into a review that might seem harsh or unfair.

Well, it has been three weeks and I still don’t feel any better about it. I think my over-riding thought is that I can’t see the point of Eileen. It just did nothing to fulfil me. I admit that Moshfegh rather interestingly created a world of such ennui that the drama within the book should come across as more powerful but it just didn’t. It was all a bit meh.

Moshfegh did create an interesting third act twist but having read two thirds of the book I was already too lost to really care about the characters or this new found drama.

Eileen definitely did not win me over.

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh is available now.

For more information regarding Penguin Press (@PenguinBooksUK) please visit www.penguin.co.uk.