Length 10hrs 26mins
Published 2011 (originally published 1985)
My Copy borrowed from the library
Set in a repressive dystopian society, The Handmaid’s Tale provides glimpses into a not so distant future where women serve little purpose other than to breed and be at the beck and call of their Commander. Living inside a gated and guarded community as the world outside succumbs to ongoing war, the inhabitants live a mundane life. There is no fraternising, no freedom, no choice. For every action there is swift instruction and purpose. It’s amid this backdrop, author Margaret Atwood introduces Offred, once a library employee, mother, and wife now serving her masters in a dangerous world. Offred is the narrator of this story and provides a telling account of her experiences in Gilead as well as providing interesting bite size chunks of ‘life before’.
I listened to the audio version narrated by Joanna David who, I don’t think was the right choice, despite putting in a very solid performance. I just pictured Offred as younger than what Joanna’s voice portrayed. More a ‘me’ issue than that of the book.
The Handmaid’s Tale is a good book, one that focuses more on establishing an atmosphere than detailed plot. Whilst it’s slow moving, the pacing allows the reader time to get to know Offred (at least what she wants us to know) and feel like we’re part of her world.
I think this is a book that will require a re-read to fully appreciate it. 3 / 5 stars.