The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

Speculative fiction · Great for: Fans of the TV show; those who think about how the world could be different

About this book

‘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.

Originally published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale returned to the bestseller lists in 2016 and has become a cultural phenomenon. It was adapted into a TV series in 2017.

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What we think of this book & ideas for gifting

The iconic dystopian novel that inspired the hit TV show. An essential read that will make you think about gender roles and the position of women in a world that doesn't seem to distant from our own.