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The Handmaid's Tale

by Margaret Atwood

In the new world order, where a totalitarian theocracy runs the country, Offred is a Handmaiden. As a Handmaiden, Offred is only allowed to leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to the market whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women aren’t allowed to read.

As a Handmaiden, she must pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because that is her only purpose – and the reason she’s alive.

But Offred remembers the life she used to have. In the old America, she had a name and freedom; love, marriage and a daughter; an education, a job and money of her own. Now, in the Republic of Gilead, she, and the other women, are controlled by men. But she remembers when she controlled herself.
Perhaps it isn’t hope that dies last, but the memories of the heart.

Margaret Atwood has always maintained that this dystopian novel isn’t science fiction, which it isn’t. At the moment, however, it seems less allegory than warning: if you aren’t vigilant, what you have can be taken away. And probably will be.

Margaret Atwood is a writer of enormous skill, intelligence, originality and depth; bleak as the The Handmaid's Tale may sound, it is also marked by wit and passion.

You’ve seen the TV series – now read the book.

 

The Handmaid's Tale