The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodThe Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

byMargaret Atwood

Paperback | September 6, 2011

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In this multi-award-winning, bestselling novel, Margaret Atwood has created a stunning Orwellian vision of the near future. This is the story of Offred, one of the unfortunate “Handmaids” under the new social order who have only one purpose: to breed. In Gilead, where women are prohibited from holding jobs, reading, and forming friendships, Offred’s persistent memories of life in the “time before” and her will to survive are acts of rebellion. Provocative, startling, prophetic, and with Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit, and acute perceptive powers in full force, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once a mordant satire and a dire warning.
MARGARET ATWOOD, whose work has been published in more than forty-five countries, is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry, critical essays, and graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning TV series, her novels include Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the 1989 Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which wo...
Title:The Handmaid's TaleFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:384 pages, 7.9 × 5.15 × 1.01 inShipping dimensions:7.9 × 5.15 × 1.01 inPublished:September 6, 2011Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0771008791

ISBN - 13:9780771008795

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood


In stock online

Available in stores

Alias Grace: A Novel
Alias Grace: A Novel

by Margaret Atwood


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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Did not enjoy It was hard to read, I persevered, but eventually gave up.
Date published: 2019-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great read Loved this book, ending leaves you waiting for a second novel but you just have to wait 30 years for it if you read this when it first came out! Or watch the tv show.
Date published: 2019-08-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting book It was a good book, it wasn’t boring. I just wish that my questions were answered and that more info was provided.
Date published: 2019-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing! But.... Incredible story, themes, and characters. I only wish that more of my endless questions were answered!
Date published: 2018-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing but Scary Twisted but amazing! Ending is the mystery! #plumpoints
Date published: 2018-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent dystopian thriller! A scary and thrilling tale; a warning of where we could end up if we keep down the same political path. #indigoemployee
Date published: 2018-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Creative and brilliant! I enjoyed reading this more than once. Beautifully written. Loved it!
Date published: 2018-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark and Brilliant This was written in the 1980s and yet somehow, is so apropos of today, it's chilling. Again, Atwood's language, captivating visuals and striking characters make it impossible to put the book down. And though it's written over 30 years ago, Atwood brilliantly leaves distinguishing time-markers out, making this reality all the more unsettling for the unknowing of how far - or close - a reality it could be.
Date published: 2018-08-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A beautiful story! I enjoyed reading this classic story, for the second time, it is popular for being an attention grabber and page turner. It is not an easy read for everyone, but it worked out well for me.
Date published: 2018-08-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I though i would love this book That was just not for me. I loved part of it, but it frustrated me how slow it was and i feel like i'm missing half of the book. It's such a vivid book and critical book about society but at the end of the day i didn't enjoy reading it.
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intense This novel was for sure a page turner and had my attention grabbed the entire time
Date published: 2018-08-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved it i can't say i liked the ending. but this is definitely a great thought-provoking novel. #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A thought-provoking read! Bought it, loved it and talked about it with friends a ton! A great, thought-provoking novel #plumreview
Date published: 2018-08-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favourites! This novel is an interesting depiction of how our current actions may sway our future. It is a wild journey from start to finish following the life of handmaid Offred and her mission to stay alive. At times it made me cry, and other times it made me laugh. In the end I am thoroughly happy I was able to read it.
Date published: 2018-08-22
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Typical Dystopian story this novel is only your typical dystopian story, although I liked it it was most definitely not my favourite novel. Terrible ending..
Date published: 2018-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly recommended. My initial thoughts about this book were a bit wishy-washy, and I was turned off of reading anything Margaret Atwood for the longest time, as most who read her and recommended her books weren't the nicest group of people... the kind who sat in the front row of an lecture in english literature, puffing up their chest, and belittling those who didn't have a constant rotation of books on the go or know nearly enough knowledge about feminist utopia literature. I thought Margaret Atwood was an asshole. Anywho, I ran into Ms. Atwood a couple of years back and she's one of the nicest women I've met. I couldn't get enough of the conversation we were having.. it led to me this book and to her others. I ate it up and would do it again. So good!
Date published: 2018-08-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Read this way back in high school and just recently re-read it. Great book!
Date published: 2018-08-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it again Loved it the first time and now read it the second time. A must read!
Date published: 2018-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Book I liked reading this book but was disappointed in the ending. The Handmaid's Tale had an intriguing concept and the little segment after the story ends was interesting.
Date published: 2018-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from captivating story It was really interesting reading this book, however, the ending was a little bit of a let down. i was expecting a little more. maybe there should be a second book. other than the ending, i loved everything about this book, couldn't put it down. everyone should read it.
Date published: 2018-07-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Expected more I had seen commercials for the show and thought that a book would be better, they usually are. The book wasn’t as much of a page-turner as I had expected. It was still an ok read. I also didn’t really enjoy the way the author ended the story.
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing Twisted but amazing! Utopian society that shows how women are treated just for reproductive purposes.
Date published: 2018-07-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely fantastic! I really enjoyed reading this book. What an amazing story and the writing was just beautiful. I wanted more!
Date published: 2018-07-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Everyone should read this one. Show is great as well.
Date published: 2018-07-04
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Kind of interesting I am a fast reader but this book was so slow and so dull. I didn't want to finish it but I forced myself to. The beginning and middle were boring but the end picked up a bit. I wish it was more like the end of the book than the beginning. I didn't really care for how the book ended either.
Date published: 2018-06-25
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Cool Concept, Weird Execution I appreciate this book for the topics it touched upon. However, the writing was dry and I found myself extremely bored reading the book because of the writing.
Date published: 2018-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this book! Wow! From start to finish this book will keep you enticed!
Date published: 2018-06-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from loved it Atwood is an incredible writer!!! Shockingly a little bit too close in reality for comfort in certain regions of the world. Use it as a lesson of what to not restrain our women like.
Date published: 2018-06-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My favourite Atwood book Love this book. The story is amazing and one you could read over and over again. You would see something new each time it was read and it would capture you each time with it’s incredible tale.
Date published: 2018-06-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good! I've read this book a few times and each time I always pick up something new and I'm always surprised. I definitely recommend this book and check out the tv show!
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing Read Great book, always keeps you on your toes, surprises at every turn
Date published: 2018-06-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from very good I listened to the special edition audiobook, with Claire Danes as narrator, I quite liked it. I think it’s my favourite audiobook so far, very disturbing and good. I found nick role smaller then I thought it would be listening to all the spoilers around.
Date published: 2018-05-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Kept me thinking the whole time I have never been crazy about Margaret Atwood; besides the first two books in the Madd Adam series I've always stayed away from her work. However, after hearing how great the TV show is I figured I should give the book a try before I watched it. I was SO surprised by how much I loved this book! It kept me thinking the entire time I was reading it; what is going on? how did it get to this? I couldn't put it down!
Date published: 2018-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely terrifying Quite scary, I must admit. Gave me the heebyjeebies
Date published: 2018-04-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing, terrifying This book was an amazing read, but also a terrifying portrayal of different societies’ oppression of women and control over their bodies.
Date published: 2018-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing This book left me speechless, I could not put it down. Definitely not a light read though, but everyone should read this at some point in their lives.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thank you Ms. Margaret Atwood, thank you for your genius mind. I feel like I should not even be attempting to review The Handmaid’s Tale. Atwood is beyond words. She is a fierce writer who can attract a reader deeply and intensely. You feel the book as your heart skips a beat. Your hands grab the pages as if you are about to rip them. Your eyes follow the lines rapidly and it is late and you need to get your sleep for the next day, but you cannot let it go.
Date published: 2018-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Worth the hype Bought this a couple of weeks ago, read it in less than a week. Disturbing but addictive read....heard so much about the series on tv, thought I would read the book first. Interested to see how the show depicts these complicated characters.
Date published: 2018-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it then ... love it now Read this book when it was first written and was both horrified and captivated by it. Couldn't put it down. Picked it up again after seeing both the opera (don't bother with) and the HBO series (well done) and found it as good a read as I did thirty or so years ago!
Date published: 2018-01-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I couldn't put the book down! Well-written story! Once you start reading, you don't want to stop. It didn't disappoint. I love it!
Date published: 2018-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Should be on everyone's list Not a light read by any stretch of the imagination, but one that everyone should read at some point. Thought-provoking and elegantly written.
Date published: 2018-01-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Classic. I remember reading the Handmaid's Tale in high school & falling in love. Recently purchased by own copy of the book and it's just as amazing as I remember it. Truly a modern classic.
Date published: 2018-01-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from There is a trend amongst these dystopian novels written by white authors While they're brilliant stories they're nothing new. It's almost as though white authors look at the history of slaves, the oppression of marginalized people, etc, repackage and sell to white audiences so they can digest it better and feel less guilty.
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read! The story sucks you in! Disturbing and wonderfully written! One to read in front of the fire with a nice cup of something hot!
Date published: 2018-01-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from MUST Read This book should be mandatory for ALL to read. Just amazing. Once I started, I just couldn't put it down. There was a lot of hype around this book and it did not disappoint!
Date published: 2018-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Should Be Read By Everyone This book is one of the most incredible works of fiction I've ever read. Truly a modern classic. Everyone should read this. I love this edition of the book, it is my second favorite modern edition of this novel. The story and the writing is absolutely amazing. This is a modern classic that everyone should read. It gives you insight, makes you question the world around, it inspires you to think differently. Atwood is one of the most talented writers of time. After reading the book, and then watching the show based on it, I have a whole new appreciation for the delicate way she handles such a difficult and challenging world. It is innately real and inherently terrifying to realize that as she put it, she only writes about things that have already happened. And, this could very well happen, which adds a terrifying level of reality to this book. It can be difficult to read if you've experienced certain things or had to deal with certain things but it is still so worth the read if you can. The vast majority of people would have a hard time handling the content. But, it is as amazing as it is horrifying. So, I still highly recommend this book to everyone I can. Of course, I also recommend most of her books to people. So, read it.
Date published: 2017-12-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from different and intriguing style of writing i really liked the unique story and character
Date published: 2017-12-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Completely enthralling This book definitely lives up to the expectations. If you haven't read Atwood yet, this is the one to read!
Date published: 2017-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great A literary and modern classic. The book did live up to its hype. Immersive storyline.
Date published: 2017-11-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Beautifully Disturbing Treasure Such an amazing novel, by such an amazing writer!
Date published: 2017-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely AMAZING! I read it for my English ISU about dystopian societies and I loved it! Atwood is an excellent writer!
Date published: 2017-11-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it Bought this in the spring, finally got to read it, definitely demonstrates what an excellent writer Atwood is, and I thoroughly enjoyed the dark plot.
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from nice edition of a vital CanLit classic nice edition of a vital CanLit classic
Date published: 2017-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Such a good book! For me this book lived up to its hype. I really enjoyed the story, and the way that it was written. It was
Date published: 2017-11-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay Atwood is a great writer but I definately did not like the dark plot
Date published: 2017-11-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! Couldn't put this book down. Some say it is the female version of 1984. I highly recommend! Truly amazing story.
Date published: 2017-10-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Atwood at her best Fantastic novel. A truly dystopian suggestion of what life would be like if women didn't have control of their reproduction. Atwood is a Canadian treasure, and her voice is a valued one. Highly recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from liked it grabbed this book after a friend recommended it to me. was not dissapointed
Date published: 2017-10-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I read quite a bit over the last few days. The plot-twists left me shocked and confused in the best way. It left me thinking hard, pondering every detail of the book. I would definitely recommend.
Date published: 2017-10-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow I never knew this book existed until it was announced that there was going to be a television series. I obviously ran out and purchased the novel so I could get my hands onto the story before I watched it on television. The story was scary, gloomy, interesting, and sometimes infuriating, but a stellar read.
Date published: 2017-10-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Important I first read this book in high school, and it always stuck with me. I recently purchased and was reminded how much this book influenced me. It's an important story that I think everyone should read at least once in their life. Truly an amazing, thought provoking, and impactful story.
Date published: 2017-10-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful book! Amazing plot! This book will keep you reading day and night, one of the finest!
Date published: 2017-09-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it I love Margaret Atwood so I thought it was amazing!
Date published: 2017-09-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love the book even better than the TV show.
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Started watching the show so I decided to read the book, the book is so much better
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderfully, interesting tale A very interesting tale that is so relevant to the modern world. Really makes one think about what could easily happen to life today and how easily it appears that human rites and opportunities can be removed from people.
Date published: 2017-09-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read A great read, the tv show did a good job on there adaptation
Date published: 2017-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Simply Amazing! I had heard so much about this book and the new TV show, so I had high expectations when I started. It was more than I could have ever expected. So beautifully written, it was a pleasure to read.
Date published: 2017-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Interesting Read I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend! It was fascinating to read about this dystopian society that felt like it could become a reality.
Date published: 2017-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting Read, Great Themes! I read this book as part of a high school English project, and I'm quite glad that I picked it! This book was incredibly fascinating as there were so many mysteries within it. I had so many questions throughout the book, not all of which were answered, and I think that's part of the beauty of it. This book can be harder to get into at first, as it started off a bit confusing. However, as the story goes on, the reader develops a better sense of this dystopian society and can't help but continue reading it.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic read! Couldn't put it down! Shocking but beautifully written.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book I loved this book from start to finish. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Black Mirror of its Time... Read it in highschool and with the recent renewed interest, I wondered what took me so long. After all these years, it still has that near-future distopian uncomfortable feel. It was a book ahead of its time.
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Pretty Good I've never been a fan of Atwood's writing, but the themes in this book are extremely relevant to today. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating and relevant Beautiful book! Margaret Atwood's finest, everyone should read (especially young people).
Date published: 2017-09-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Everyone should read this book! I had heard excellent things about this book and they were right. Although you spend much of the book wondering what exactly is happening, when you do find out you are left astounded.
Date published: 2017-09-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fascinating Read This book was originally written in 1985 but even today it is relevant.
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Timeless Strong themes, especially for today. Do not read if pregnant.
Date published: 2017-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Atwood is Queen An amazing plot and of course turned into a fantastic Bravo series! Definitely a novel I will reread in the near future!
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really good A wonderful read, highly enjoyable
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read This book is extremely captivating. It deals with real issues such as rape, patriarchy, end times, etc. I would highly recommend this book to young adults and adults. It has a science fiction vibe to it.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Margaret Atwood is my mom Amazing read, the after effects of reading a great Atwood novel is that she appears behind me chanting "male fantasies, male fantasies" every time I am reading a mediocre novel written by a male author. It does help my critique skills though.
Date published: 2017-09-05
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Interesting A heart wrenching plot with strong characters.
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good read. Well written. Good read. I found some chapters to be a bit slow paced, but overall a good book. Well written. Note: If you are a fan of the show and are looking to read the book after you have watched the series, I would not. The book is much different and it does not offer any insight to where the show left off season 1.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring beginning I have tried reading this novel more than once. I never make it past the beginning because I find it very boring.
Date published: 2017-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of My New Favourites This book is bone-chilling and frighteningly topical. For some reason I had a preconceived idea that it would be a slow/dry read but I could not put it down! It's made its way into my list of favourite books.
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A master class in speculative dystopian fiction The Handmaid's Tale was on the syllabus for a dystopian literature class I took in college, and it was easily the best book I read that semester. Atwood is a remarkable storyteller and the novel is a compelling read from start to finish. What's more incredible is that it was written in the mid-1980s but its criticisms still ring true in today's society. Definitely worth reading and conducting some additional research into the debates about its themes.
Date published: 2017-08-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read I couldn't put this book down and I'm sorry it took me this long to read it! It will be on my shelf to be reread in the future.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh I started. I put it down, I never picked it up again. Its just slow
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Unexpected Tried to read other works by this author and couldn't get through them, but this one was interesting and I had to finish
Date published: 2017-08-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great and creepy read This will have you thinking about the world in a whole new way. A must read!
Date published: 2017-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Obviously Good ATWOOD? Of course it will be epic. And it was. Loved the story. It haunted my dreams a bit, but it was well worth it.
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from love it is so good and am waiting for the show to come on demand
Date published: 2017-08-21
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Great concept, not great execution When I read the synopsis about The Handmaid's Tale, I was very interested in reading it. Unfortunately it missed the mark on what I was expecting. It is so slow, there's no explanation as to HOW the society got that way or how the people ended up in the positions they were in. I powered through it hoping to have some answers but was disappointed greatly.
Date published: 2017-07-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely chilling to read... ...especially in this political climate. There is so much that is terrifying in this book, from the subjugation of women, to the marriage of fundamentalist Christianity and guns, to quotes that seem eerily relevant to the present day. But I think my favourite thing about this book is the number of layers, and how every time I read it, I get something new out of it. Definitely recommended.
Date published: 2017-07-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read. I will admit; I read this story when I was in high school and I went out a couple chapters into the book to read ahead. I try and read this book every year because it's just an amazing story. It truly should be read by everyone - young or old. It truly speaks to society and events that are happening around the world today. Atwood does an amazing job describing the characters and allowing the reader to picture this world. It truly has an important message. My favourite part is the ending - which allows me to interpret what happens next.
Date published: 2017-07-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Haunting but necessary Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel about a United States in which women's rights have been completely stripped and women have been turned into child-bearing vessels, is a novel that has haunted me since the moment I picked it up seven years ago. A particular scene, in which Offred is given the chance to hold a pencil in a world that prohibits women from reading or writing, is especially poignant. The novel is fraught with details such as these, prompting an appreciation of what women have fought for for so long, and an understanding that one must always be ready to fight for these rights, no matter the cost. A must-read novel for all.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Must Read! I absolutely loved this book! I read it in college and again just last month (along side with the Hulu series). It was easy to read, hard to put down and extremely relevant to the events going on in our world today. Contrary to (probably) popular belief, I really enjoyed how Atwood ended the story - giving me the opportunity to interpret the final outcome.
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Chilling An enjoyable novel, best to read in long sittings. A definite classic that provokes the mind.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Read I found this book to be a real page turner. I can't believe this book was published in 1985. It felt like this could really happen...crazy world we live in today. This is one of those books you MUST read! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-07-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from important this is a great dystopian novel with an important message
Date published: 2017-07-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Impossible to ignore While failing to grab my attention initially, by the final page, I was fully immersed in this nightmarish world that Atwood created. Well worth the read for all, as a reminder of the potential dangers of theocracy, but also of how close to the edge our civilization walks.
Date published: 2017-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic that's even more relevant today Read this book in highschool, university and now as an adult. Always finding more nuggets in the amazing prose. The story is scary in that it could so easily happen in a not very distant future.
Date published: 2017-07-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Margaret Atwood is AMAZING! Actual rating: 4.5* I’d had this book sitting on my TBR pile for over a year, and the arrival of the television show motivated me to get off my butt and read it. I’d heard so many good things about this book from other people, and so many good things about Margaret Atwood in general, that I figured this needed to happen. I really enjoyed this book. Now, this is definitely not the kind of book that will make you happy while reading it, it wasn’t that kind of enjoyment. This book is supposed to make you uncomfortable; the point is to show people what humans are capable of. This is a dystopia that feels like it could actually happen in the future. We are never told what the year is, which is why it’s so terrifying. We are told about bits of Offred’s life before she became a Handmaid, and it doesn’t seem that far off from where the world is today, it feels like this could happen in the near future. Reading this, it definitely doesn’t feel like it was written in 1985, which is absolutely terrifying. We follow our main character, whose name is Offred. She is a member of the Republic of Gilead (which used to be the United States). Her name is literally “Of Fred,” she is a Handmaid to a Commander, Fred, and his wife, Serena Joy. A Handmaid is a woman who remains fertile. In this society, women have become increasingly infertile, and are no longer able to get pregnant themselves. Any women that remain fertile are taken and sent to the Red Centre. Here they are trained to be Handmaid’s. Their sole purpose is to provide children for their Commanders and their wives. There a basically caste systems that consist of Econowives (wives for men of lower station, who are poorer), Marthas (housekeepers), and Handmaids (who are basically incubators. We are told all about this not too far off dystopia for Offred’s point of view, and we are told what Handmaids go through. Society has basically been destroyed. Women’s rights no longer exist. It is illegal for them to have jobs, have money, or do anything of their own free will. The views of society in the time of the Handmaids draw heavily on religion. Of course, it is a fanatical view and interpretation of the Bible and what it means. This shows how people take beliefs to the extreme, and shows how it affects people. I found this to be a really interesting aspect. Offred’s friend Moira is a lesbian (or a gender traitor), and we see what the members of the LGBT community did to survive while the world was falling apart; they created an underground network to protect themselves, and keep in contact with one another. This is very present in our world today with all the homophobia and hatred. Margaret Atwood really thought about how the world slowly deteriorate due to human nature. After the new laws are in place in the world, the Handmaids are trained and then sent to a household. The Handmaids are told to treat their bodies as a temple in order to have a successful pregnancy and give a child to their commander and his wife. If they do not produce a child, they are basically disposed of. If anything happens to them (i.e., rape), they are told that it was their fault. They really have agency at all. Their lives are very much ritualized. They take their daily walk, in pairs, to do the shopping, and each month, the Handmaids, the wives, and the Commanders engage in a ceremony, where the Commander has sex with the Handmaid in order to hopefully produce a baby. The Handmaids are trained to behave a certain way, they must forget everything about their past lives. Their lives seem very primitive, technology has basically been done away with. The Handmaids that we focus on are a kind of representation of rebellion, which I really enjoyed. It was chilling how little of a fight people put up when everything happened. Margaret Atwood’s writing is really brilliant. She provides little snippets of the past interspersed with the present. She really makes you feel for Offred, you feel intense discomfort, as well as unease. You become completely immersed in the story. Overall, I really enjoyed the experience of reading this book. Though I will say, I’m not a fan of the ambiguous ending. I definitely want to read a lot more of Margaret Atwood’s work in the future.
Date published: 2017-07-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from strange but impossible to put down The atmosphere of the book makes you uncomfortable throughout the read, but that's the point of the story. And you can't stop wondering what happens next. Loved it!
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from atwood chilling book to read. suspenseful
Date published: 2017-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing book and read Very hard book to put down. So glad I happened to buy it before I realized there was a series because I got to relive the book right after.
Date published: 2017-07-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from favourite story of all time Margaret Atwood has a way of knitting together words in such an addicting fashion :0
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing What a great choice, lovely little tidbits here.
Date published: 2017-07-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn't put it down Love this book, what a creepy but thrilling story line
Date published: 2017-07-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better the second time around I read The Handmaid's Tale in high school and liked it but now that I have re-read it, I got so much more out of it the second time around. A poignant story, well written, truly a classic. Margaret Atwood is a national treasure.
Date published: 2017-06-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love this book Read this book 3 times now and cant put it down when I pick it up.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Nightmares as a teen...and still giving me chills as an adult! I first read this book in 1985 right after it was released. The visual descriptions of things...women being taken to the colonies, "the wall" and the utter boredom and resentment of life as a woman in this new order haunt me to this day. I recently bought a new copy as mine from before has all but fallen apart and the TV show has made me want to re-read it. It is both a dark and critical book of what can happen when a "mania" takes this case a religious mania. Don't read it for kicks...but do read it to see what can happen when society marginalizes part of itself. And then watch the TV series! Both are excellent.
Date published: 2017-06-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Creepy Tries a bit too hard to seem omnious and looks like it's trying to compare itself to Orwell
Date published: 2017-06-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I read it once I wanted to like this book. I thought the concept and themes within were interesting but the writing style made it something I had to slog through. One of the few times I'll say the tv show is better than the movie.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horribly Over-rated This is a thought play on what a modernish world might seem like under Christian puritan rule. It's been misunderstood to represent a world under any Christian Protestant rule. It's unfortunately been written without a lot of insight into Puritanism (despite Atwood's studies), nor sympathy for religion of any stripe. As a result, the tone is exaggerated, alarmist and in the end, the story feels quite silly. Atwood is a brilliant author and this work is not characteristic of her usual fare. For those unfamiliar with her, and who are curious, this book shouldn't be the one to start with. In fact, I would avoid it all together - life is just too short.
Date published: 2017-06-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great Concept, Bad Execution I loved the writing, I have to say that. The concept was really creative and weirdly fascinating, however I finished the book and I could not believe that that was it. Built such a strong new environment, but there was real story.
Date published: 2017-06-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Shocking and Important Handmaid's Tale was my first venture into the Canadian writer and I was thoroughly delighted. I was not expecting such a futuristic dystopian while initially sussing out the nostalgic imagery (cover, etc). The story is seems especially important in today's politically unpredictable atmosphere. I haven't watched the new series yet for fear that it hasn't done the book justice.
Date published: 2017-06-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Thought Provoking Reading this book really made me think about how simple it would be for something like this to happen. The plot was a little confusing and slightly bizarre at times, but overall I loved it!
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Weirdest Book I've Ever Read Read this in high school before it blew up as a TV serires, and it was honestly one of the hardest books to get through.. painful even.. but it was weirdly good.
Date published: 2017-06-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Read After watching two episodes of the TV series I had to read the book. Such a great read!
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from NOPE Definitely not for me. Super weird, way to screwed up. I'm some people like it, I can recognise that it is objectively written well, but the storyline is definitely not for me.
Date published: 2017-06-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good book I don't like this cover as much as the older one. Still worth reading.
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Insightful This book was eye-opening. So many opinions and views that I never thought of, but that are clearly becoming more and more evident in today's society. A tough read at times, but the narrator does apologize for her disjointed thoughts, and she can't be blamed.
Date published: 2017-06-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Wake Up Call What a story. If you like dystopian novels that mess with your perception on life and worldly views, please indulge in this treasure. It is disturbing, it is unsettling, it is perplexing, and altogether realistic. Centering around a protagonist named Offred (yes that's Of-Fred) as she navigates a new and complex world of sexism, structure, and dehumanization, this novel is not for the faint of heart. After reading it, I will not be watching the show as I can not imaging its all-to-real portrayal of the story and its characters. I would however highly recommend picking up this book and, in doing so, remind yourself of what it truly means to be a woman.
Date published: 2017-06-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Insightful Great to read before you watch the tv show !
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking and Inspiring As a teen reading this in school, I didn't appreciate the story the way I do after reading it a second time. Such timely themes and unforgettable characters!
Date published: 2017-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Did not disappoint This has been on my reading list for a while, and it lives up to the hype. Addictive, insightful and relevant reading in a time where women's rights are front and center in the media and politics.
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Jaw Dropping This is a phenomenal book,and it is a must read for anyone trying to understand 2017, politically.
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 10/10 would recommend to anyone that loves distopian
Date published: 2017-06-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Boring Didn't enjoy it like I did her previous books.
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book! I have read it several times and, honestly, each time I do it gets better. This is a critical and thoughtful exploration of the feminine experience in a dystopian world. Eerily just as contemporary and possible today as it was 20 years ago.
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from great read! loved this book but not crazy about the ending (wish it wasn't a cliff-hanger and that certain plot lines would have been tied up better)
Date published: 2017-06-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyable I thought that there were some details that were left open-ended other than the ending. Other than that, Atwood's writing is fantastic and a lot of interpretations helped make the book more enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Impossible to Put Down It's amazing that a book written over 30 years ago still resonates with readers today. The years have not diminished the lessons in this book, nor its ability to terrify you
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from love interesting dystopian perspective... very classic Atwood
Date published: 2017-06-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Classic Atwood As someone who is currently in the same residence that Atwood resided in during her UofT years, I couldn't get away with not reading this book. And honestly, I couldn't get away from the book either. I couldn't put it down until it was done.
Date published: 2017-06-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great wake up call I loved this book and I thought it's popularity today really attests to how many woman are waking up and becoming more interested in protecting our rights, especially under Trump.The complexity of this new world that the authour dreamed up was amazing and seemed like it could happen any day in my eyes. The TV show was a great compliment to the book and I am enjoying how they are similar yet are both taking different plot lines.
Date published: 2017-05-31
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love I could not put down this book. Margret Atwood is an amazing writer
Date published: 2017-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Didn't want this book to end I read this book from cover to cover in 1.5 days. I was so captivated and couldn't put it down. The ending was a bit sudden and I am not still sure of it's meaning but the futuristic world for these women (or handmaidens) is really dark and secretive. I am glad I finally read this all these years later!
Date published: 2017-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed it A great look at a unique idea of the future, written in the past. I'm enjoying reading this along with watching the tv series.
Date published: 2017-05-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remains a great story With the TV show coming, I took the opportunity to revisit this favourite from my past reading. I loved it just as much and I'm looking forward to seeing this story brought to life.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Powerful I first read this book 20 years ago in high school and opted to re-read now in time for the mini-series, as I had absolutely no recollection of it. I must someone who is not really a fan of Atwood, this book was very good. It is particularly relevant given the state of the world and some of the issues facing women, particularly with respect to our neighbours' to the south. While I think the events in the story are improbable and not likely to happen, they are not impossible. Fanaticism is powerful and we must strive to ensure not to be swayed by those who claim they are always working in our best interests. Definitely worth the read.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing and powerful This was an amazing novel, I would highly recommend it.
Date published: 2017-05-23
Rated 1 out of 5 by from ugggh I had high hopes for this book. Super disappointing ending, making you left with so many questions.
Date published: 2017-05-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Powerful! Margaret Atwood is a great storyteller!
Date published: 2017-05-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read I really enjoyed this book. I had it on my list to read for MONTHS, and I wish I had read it sooner than I did. Very intriguing and kept my attention - I did not want to put this one down.
Date published: 2017-05-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I've had this book on my TBR for years.. I wish I had read this book sooner! Wow! Atwood wrote a very scary yet almost realistic world. I love dystopian and this one didn't disappoint. It's now one of my fave books!! So good!
Date published: 2017-05-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fascinating and Intriguing A fascinating and intriguing read that, when faced with dire circumstances, doesn't feel too far off, frighteningly enough. Atwood writes with such purpose, every sentence in this book has a deeper message, if you take the time to look. This story is filled with messages relevant to how we are living today - definitely a thinker. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from interesting the book has a really interesting outtake on dystopia
Date published: 2017-05-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved this! Just read this for a book club and it got our best rating yet! Would highly recommend it! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Classic Classic story that is relevant today. Interesting concept, and excellent writing.
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Thrilling book Interesting read.. Well written
Date published: 2017-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Bought this on a whim... and thoroughly enjoyed it! I love dystopian worlds in litterature and this one didn't disappoint.
Date published: 2017-04-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Must read It's a poignant and relevant story. I did prefer 1984 but this was still great!
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A True Classic I read this book for English this year and I really enjoyed reading this dystopian. Atwood is truely a gifted writer.
Date published: 2017-04-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Instant Classic I loved this book from the first chapter. There is some relatable examples to common time and the direction society is headed in the near future. I fell in love with Margaret Atwood from this book.
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Captivating The writing is fantastic. Beautiful prose and lots of standout lines. The book is written through events as Offred remembers them, but in a way that makes the reader feel very present as they unfold. Horrifying, heroic, hopeful. I thought the epilogue was clever and put an entirely new spin on the preceding story. It makes sense, given that Atwood based Gilead on various real events/atrocities from history. I’ll definitely be checking out her other speculative fiction stories now.
Date published: 2017-04-26

Read from the Book

1We slept in what had once been the gymnasium. The floor was of varnished wood, with stripes and circles painted on it, for the games that were formerly played there; the hoops for the basketball nets were still in place, though the nets were gone. A balcony ran around the room, for the spectators, and I thought I could smell, faintly like an afterimage, the pungent scent of sweat, shot through with the sweet taint of chewing gum and perfume from the watching girls, felt-skirted as I knew from pictures, later in miniskirts, then pants, then in one earring, spiky green-streaked hair. Dances would have been held there; the music lingered, a palimpsest of unheard sound, style upon style, an undercurrent of drums, a forlorn wail, garlands made of tissue-paper flowers, cardboard devils, a revolving ball of mirrors, powdering the dancers with a snow of light.There was old sex in the room and loneliness, and expectation, of something without a shape or name. I remember that yearning, for something that was always about to happen and was never the same as the hands that were on us there and then, in the small of the back, or out back, in the parking lot, or in the television room with the sound turned down and only the pictures flickering over lifting flesh.We yearned for the future. How did we learn it, that talent for insatiability? It was in the air; and it was still in the air, an afterthought, as we tried to sleep, in the army cots that had been set up in rows, with spaces between so we could not talk. We had flannelette sheets, like children's, and army-issue blankets, old ones that still said U.S. We folded our clothes neatly and laid them on the stools at the ends of the beds. The lights were turned down but not out. Aunt Sara and Aunt Elizabeth patrolled; they had electric cattle prods slung on thongs from their leather belts.No guns though, even they could not be trusted with guns. Guns were for the guards, specially picked from the Angels. The guards weren't allowed inside the building except when called, and we weren't allowed out, except for our walks, twice daily, two by two around the football field, which was enclosed now by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire. The Angels stood outside it with their backs to us. They were objects of fear to us, but of something else as well. If only they would look. If only we could talk to them. Something could be exchanged, we thought, some deal made, some tradeoff, we still had our bodies. That was our fantasy.We learned to whisper almost without sound. In the semidarkness we could stretch out our arms, when the Aunts weren't looking, and touch each other's hands across space. We learned to lip-read, our heads flat on the beds, turned sideways, watching each other's mouths. In this way we exchanged names, from bed to bed:Alma. Janine. Dolores. Moira. June.IIShopping2A chair, a table, a lamp. Above, on the white ceiling, a relief ornament in the shape of a wreath, and in the center of it a blank space, plastered over, like the place in a face where the eye has been taken out. There must have been a chandelier, once. They've removed anything you could tie a rope to.A window, two white curtains. Under the window, a window seat with a little cushion. When the window is partly open--it only opens partly--the air can come in and make the curtains move. I can sit in the chair, or on the window seat, hands folded, and watch this. Sunlight comes in through the window too, and falls on the floor, which is made of wood, in narrow strips, highly polished. I can smell the polish. There's a rug on the floor, oval, of braided rags. This is the kind of touch they like: folk art, archaic, made by women, in their spare time, from things that have no further use. A return to traditional values. Waste not want not. I am not being wasted. Why do I want?On the wall above the chair, a picture, framed but with no glass: a print of flowers, blue irises, watercolor. Flowers are still allowed. Does each of us have the same print, the same chair, the same white curtains, I wonder? Government issue?Think of it as being in the army, said Aunt Lydia.A bed. Single, mattress medium-hard, covered with a flocked white spread. Nothing takes place in the bed but sleep; or no sleep. I try not to think too much. Like other things now, thought must be rationed. There's a lot that doesn't bear thinking about. Thinking can hurt your chances, and I intend to last. I know why there is no glass, in front of the watercolor picture of blue irises, and why the window opens only partly and why the glass in it is shatterproof. It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge.So. Apart from these details, this could be a college guest room, for the less distinguished visitors; or a room in a rooming house, of former times, for ladies in reduced circumstances. That is what we are now. The circumstances have been reduced; for those of us who still have circumstances.But a chair, sunlight, flowers: these are not to be dismissed. I am alive, I live, I breathe, I put my hand out, unfolded, into the sunlight. Where I am is not a prison but a privilege, as Aunt Lydia said, who was in love with either/or.The bell that measures time is ringing. Time here is measured by bells, as once in nunneries. As in a nunnery too, there are few mirrors.I get up out of the chair, advance my feet into the sunlight, in their red shoes, flat-heeled to save the spine and not for dancing. The red gloves are lying on the bed. I pick them up, pull them onto my hands, finger by finger. Everything except the wings around my face is red: the color of blood, which defines us. The skirt is ankle-length, full, gathered to a flat yoke that extends over the breasts, the sleeves are full. The white wings too are prescribed issue; they are to keep us from seeing, but also from being seen. I never looked good in red, it's not my color. I pick up the shopping basket, put it over my arm.The door of the room--not my room, I refuse to say my--is not locked. In fact it doesn't shut properly. I go out into the polished hallway, which has a runner down the center, dusty pink. Like a path through the forest, like a carpet for royalty, it shows me the way.The carpet bends and goes down the front staircase and I go with it, one hand on the banister, once a tree, turned in another century, rubbed to a warm gloss. Late Victorian, the house is, a family house, built for a large rich family. There's a grandfather clock in the hallway, which doles out time, and then the door to the motherly front sitting room, with its flesh tones and hints. A sitting room in which I never sit, but stand or kneel only. At the end of the hallway, above the front door, is a fanlight of colored glass: flowers, red and blue.There remains a mirror, on the hall wall. If I turn my head so that the white wings framing my face direct my vision towards it, I can see it as I go down the stairs, round, convex, a pier glass, like the eye of a fish, and myself in it like a distorted shadow, a parody of something, some fairy-tale figure in a red cloak, descending towards a moment of carelessness that is the same as danger. A Sister, dipped in blood.At the bottom of the stairs there's a hat-and-umbrella stand, the bentwood kind, long rounded rungs of wood curving gently up into hooks shaped like the opening fronds of a fern. There are several umbrellas in it: black, for the Commander, blue, for the Commander's Wife, and the one assigned to me, which is red. I leave the red umbrella where it is, because I know from the window that the day is sunny. I wonder whether or not the Commander's Wife is in the sitting room. She doesn't always sit. Sometimes I can hear her pacing back and forth, a heavy step and then a light one, and the soft tap of her cane on the dusty-rose carpet.I walk along the hallway, past the sitting room door and the door that leads into the dining room, and open the door at the end of the hall and go through into the kitchen. Here the smell is no longer of furniture polish. Rita is in here, standing at the kitchen table, which has a top of chipped white enamel. She's in her usual Martha's dress, which is dull green, like a surgeon's gown of the time before. The dress is much like mine in shape, long and concealing, but with a bib apron over it and without the white wings and the veil. She puts on the veil to go outside, but nobody much cares who sees the face of a Martha. Her sleeves are rolled to the elbow, showing her brown arms. She's making bread, throwing the loaves for the final brief kneading and then the shaping.Rita sees me and nods, whether in greeting or in simple acknowledgment of my presence it's hard to say, and wipes her floury hands on her apron and rummages in the kitchen drawer for the token book. Frowning, she tears out three tokens and hands them to me. Her face might be kindly if she would smile. But the frown isn't personal: it's the red dress she disapproves of, and what it stands for. She thinks I may be catching, like a disease or any form of bad luck.Sometimes I listen outside closed doors, a thing I never would have done in the time before. I don't listen long, because I don't want to be caught doing it. Once, though, I heard Rita say to Cora that she wouldn't debase herself like that.Nobody asking you, Cora said. Anyways, what could you do, supposing?Go to the Colonies, Rita said. They have the choice.With the Unwomen, and starve to death and Lord knows what all? said Cora. Catch you.They were shelling peas; even through the almost-closed door I could hear the light clink of the hard peas falling into the metal bowl. I heard Rita, a grunt or a sigh, of protest or agreement.Anyways, they're doing it for us all, said Cora, or so they say. If I hadn't of got my tubes tied, it could of been me, say I was ten years younger. It's not that bad. It's not what you'd call hard work.Better her than me, Rita said, and I opened the door. Their faces were the way women's faces are when they've been talking about you behind your back and they think you've heard: embarrassed, but also a little defiant, as if it were their right. That day, Cora was more pleasant to me than usual, Rita more surly.Today, despite Rita's closed face and pressed lips, I would like to stay here, in the kitchen. Cora might come in, from somewhere else in the house, carrying her bottle of lemon oil and her duster, and Rita would make coffee--in the houses of the Commanders there is still real coffee--and we would sit at Rita's kitchen table, which is not Rita's any more than my table is mine, and we would talk, about aches and pains, illnesses, our feet, our backs, all the different kinds of mischief that our bodies, like unruly children, can get into. We would nod our heads as punctuation to each other's voices, signaling that yes, we know all about it. We would exchange remedies and try to outdo each other in the recital of our physical miseries; gently we would complain, our voices soft and minor key and mournful as pigeons in the eaves troughs. I know what you mean, we'd say. Or, a quaint expression you sometimes hear, still, from older people: I hear where you're coming from, as if the voice itself were a traveler, arriving from a distant place. Which it would be, which it is.How I used to despise such talk. Now I long for it. At least it was talk. An exchange, of sorts.Or we would gossip. The Marthas know things, they talk among themselves, passing the unofficial news from house to house. Like me, they listen at doors, no doubt, and see things even with their eyes averted. I've heard them at it sometimes, caught whiffs of their private conversations. Stillborn, it was. Or, Stabbed her with a knitting needle, right in the belly. Jealousy, it must have been, eating her up. Or, tantalizingly, It was toilet cleaner she used. Worked like a charm, though you'd think he'd of tasted it. Must've been that drunk; but they found her out all right.Or I would help Rita make the bread, sinking my hands into that soft resistant warmth which is so much like flesh. I hunger to touch something, other than cloth or wood. I hunger to commit the act of touch.But even if I were to ask, even if I were to violate decorum to that extent, Rita would not allow it. She would be too afraid. The Marthas are not supposed to fraternize with us.Fraternize means to behave like a brother. Luke told me that. He said there was no corresponding word that meant to behave like a sister. Sororize, it would have to be, he said. From the Latin. He liked knowing about such details. The derivations of words, curious usages. I used to tease him about being pedantic.I take the tokens from Rita's outstretched hand. They have pictures on them, of the things they can be exchanged for: twelve eggs, a piece of cheese, a brown thing that's supposed to be a steak. I place them in the zippered pocket in my sleeve, where I keep my pass."Tell them fresh, for the eggs," she says. "Not like last time. And a chicken, tell them, not a hen. Tell them who it's for and then they won't mess around.""All right," I say. I don't smile. Why tempt her to friendship?3I go out by the back door, into the garden, which is large and tidy: a lawn in the middle, a willow, weeping catkins; around the edges, the flower borders, in which the daffodils are now fading and the tulips are opening their cups, spilling out color. The tulips are red, a darker crimson towards the stem, as if they have been cut and are beginning to heal there.This garden is the domain of the Commander's Wife. Looking out through my shatterproof window I've often seen her in it, her knees on a cushion, a light blue veil thrown over her wide gardening hat, a basket at her side with shears in it and pieces of string for tying the flowers into place. A Guardian detailed to the Commander does the heavy digging; the Commander's Wife directs, pointing with her stick. Many of the Wives have such gardens, it's something for them to order and maintain and care for.I once had a garden. I can remember the smell of the turned earth, the plump shapes of bulbs held in the hands, fullness, the dry rustle of seeds through the fingers. Time could pass more swiftly that way. Sometimes the Commander's Wife has a chair brought out, and just sits in it, in her garden. From a distance it looks like peace.She isn't here now, and I start to wonder where she is: I don't like to come upon the Commander's Wife unexpectedly. Perhaps she's sewing, in the sitting room, with her left foot on the footstool, because of her arthritis. Or knitting scarves, for the Angels at the front lines. I can hardly believe the Angels have a need for such scarves; anyway, the ones made by the Commander's Wife are too elaborate. She doesn't bother with the cross-and-star pattern used by many of the other Wives, it's not a challenge. Fir trees march across the ends of her scarves, or eagles, or stiff humanoid figures, boy and girl, boy and girl. They aren't scarves for grown men but for children.

Editorial Reviews

“A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex...just as the world of Orwell’s 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood’s handmaid!” Washington Post Book World"Margaret Atwood's novels tickle our deepest sexual and psychological fears. The Handmaid's Tale is a sly and beautifully crafted story about the fate of an ordinary woman caught off guard by extraordinary events.... A compelling fable of our time." Glamour"This visionary novel, in which God and Government are joined, and America is run as a Puritanical Theocracy, can be read as a companion volume to Orwell's 1984--its verso, in fact. It gives you the same degree of chill, even as it suggests the varieties of tyrannical experience; it evokes the same kind of horror even as its mordant wit makes you smile." E. L. Doctorow