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The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood - Bogormen
So many books, so little time.
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The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Title: The Handmaid's Tale
Author: Margaret Atwood
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 3.5/5
# pages: 298
Date read: November, 2009

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

The Handmaid's Tale is a fascinating dystopian (I think - if I understand the definition correct) tale. I'm not actually sure that I like the story, but it captures my imagination and makes it hard for me to put down the book.

I've never been able to do more than skim the historical notes at the end, but I think it does explain a lot about the structure of the book, to know that it is a transcription of several recorded tapes, and that the order of those tapes wasn't easily determined. It was one of my issues with the book that I disliked the disjointed writing style, and the way it jumped back and forth all the time, but it turned out that Margaret Atwood had a reason for it.

The Handmaid's Tale and Lorna Summer's Third remind me so much of each other. Both address pretty much the same future, but the atmospheres, or moods, of the books couldn't be more different. Truth be told, I prefer Third, as it seems to portray a less dark version of the future, but it's interesting to read them both for comparison.

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