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The Handmaid's Tale

Series: The Handmaid's Tale, Book 1
Length: 11 hrs and 22 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (733 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.   

Read by Elisabeth Moss, star of the hit Channel 4 TV series. 

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed. If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of 21st-century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.

©2011 O W Toad Ltd (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Moss embodies the lead character, Offred, perfectly and reads with grace and at an ideal pace." (Daily Mail

"This beautifully produced audiobook version of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale will whet appetites for its long-awaited sequel, The Testaments, released in September [...] The several narrators match the powerful heft of Atwood’s elegant, economical prose." (The Times)
 

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars

read beautifully by Elisabeth

listening to this book was the reason why I could finish it, because of Elisabeth's beautiful narration and it was also chosen by my bookclub... the story is so morbid and is one where there is little hope, I would not have been able to keep reading it. I kept wondering throughout how the author was able to get her feet out of bed each day whilst being immersed in the writing of this book, it's such a depressing story. It is well-written, with minute details of a sad world.

4 people found this helpful

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Feels like it moves slower than the tv series

I know it's meant to be a story of difficulty, but it's always so detailed and everything described is compared to something else. Too much detail and it becomes grueling by the end.

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Outstanding performance

I was dubious I would be able to handle the story. But the narration of the story made it human and enticing.

1 person found this helpful

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Margaret Atwood is a unique author

Margaret Atwood has taken the world and its current problems and extrapolated them to a situation that could occur in a society where men have all the power, the church (any belief taken to its extreme) takes over and tries to impress the will of "God" or substitute that for any divinity takes control and uses the word of the divinity out of context to make women conform.
That sounds terrible but I couldn't think any way of explaining the story without a 2000 word essay lol.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I really do think that people male or female should read it because it is not out of the realms of possibility.
I am now about to start the next book.
It is read mainly in a monotonal voice but that is purposeful to make us understand the oppression and treatment of women. Even when the character speaking is day dreaming about how life was it doesn't change because she has been worn down to expect nothing, do her duties without question with no escape to another way of life. Even memories are forbidden.
I do recommend this as an excellent book. It may take a little while to get in to, but you can rewind, or go back and listen again.
Enjoy,

1 person found this helpful

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So slow

A fascinating near future scenario under extreme religious rule. Thoroughly descriptive and slow paced.

I am still looking forward to the sequel and will read it.

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great listen

having watched the series I had wanted to read the book but then saw that Elizabeth Moss was reading the story and thought yes. excellent well worth the listen

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A warning if bigots get a hold

The underlying premise, though extreme, does not appear to be beyond reality when one looks at the fanatical fever of some democracies today. However it is a little too slow for me with too much minutiae and too little scope.

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Fantastic

What a brilliant read! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and only purchased it because I loved the televised series sooo much, but as strange as it sounds, I actually enjoyed the T.V series a lot more and am really looking forward to the release of the next season.

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fantastic narration. <br />

loved this. found it riveting. the narration made it so real. Will definitely be reading the sequel.

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This book is a warning.

I noticed just a couple of mistakes the narrator made while reading, such as tone when reading a question vs. Statement, but did a good job of making the recording immersive. The story itself is hard to stop listening to, horribly entertaining as a good dystopia is. Atwood has remarkable storytelling and writing skill, and while I'm usually put off stories that are almost all first person description with a choppy timeline, this remains one of my all time favourite books. The Handmaid's Tale is 'speculative fiction' and as the epilogue hints, everything that happens in Gilead is taken from events that have already happened somewhere on earth in real life. It might seem absurd to many to think this kind of oppressive totalitarian regime might take hold in the west, and I hope it stays that way.

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  • aussieGeorge68
  • 04-06-2019

Recommended before or after season 1 of series.

While clearly there is some overlap and some of the drama is in a somewhat different order to the TV series. I think its a compelling listen before or after season 1 of the TV series.

The primary story line of the book is solely narrated by Elisabeth Moss, with the other narrators only appearing at the end outside of the main story line. I found Elisabeth Moss extraordinary. I must say at the start of the book I was a little unsure about her, I think it was the case that she did not do her best work at the beginning and normal expectations one normally has about the clearer diction typical of most professional narrators. As my expectations washed away I found myself truly amazed by the performance the way the emotion of the character was conveyed was amazing.

I found the book was able to fill in various gaps in the TV series and carried far more impact on me than season 1 of the TV series, not to say I did not find the TV series fantastic as well.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Colette
  • 16-09-2019

A very well written story

After having watched the series, I wanted to listen to the book to see how different they were. I was not disappointed, such a compelling novel, I listened every spare moment that I got, longing for long car rides to be able to listen for extended periods of time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jana van der Bank
  • 25-11-2019

Breathtaking

This is a book that will make you think, think and think again. A very good story and production there of.

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  • pieta
  • 18-08-2019

enjoyable, slightly confusing

I found this story intriguing but confusing. The narration was excellent. All in all I enjoyed it.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-07-2019

Engancha

Estupendo. La voz te mete a fondo en la historia, que es impresionante. Te hace incluso pensar en sociedades donde hay grupos no tan lejos de como viven en esta distopia

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-06-2019

Really good, especially if you like the show

absolutely loved it, the narration was great, and the story fantastic
would definitely recommend <3

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  • Burcu ANIL
  • 24-07-2019

A great pleasure to listen to

Not having seen the series on TV but having watched Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men I thought she would be good to listen to. I read Atwood before and liked her style. This audio book has exceeded my expectations to an extent I didn't think was possible. Atwood's use of language is mesmerising. And listening to Moss read it was like watching to a top quality play. The story? Amazing. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to really think about the times we live in.

29 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 03-10-2019

A Grim Tale Indeed

As there has naturally been so much excitement over the long-awaited sequel to this book I thought that it was nigh on time that I gave it a try. First up, I can see why it did and indeed continues to fascinate so many people. Atwood's portrayal of a brutally oppressive patriarchal society is as chilling and grim as they come. While I may indulge myself with the odd zombie apocalypse it's undoubtedly true that the only ingredient you really need to create a dystopian future is the human race.

Attwood creates a fine sense of paranoia and suffocating oppression. This is a quite unrelentingly grim and claustrophobic tale of one woman's bravery in a society totally dominated by men. Atwood gradually reveals a chillingly banal process of culture being subverted into oppression, it doesn't take much to penetrate the veneer of civilisation.

It's a thought-provoking book. Personally I never thought it quite lived up to all of the hype that's surrounded it recently. The constant hankering back to previous times and need to assign wistful memories to so many everyday events was just a little overdone I thought.

Still, it's a good, if pretty grim, read and a very thought-provoking book.

21 people found this helpful

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  • Trevor
  • 04-02-2020

Dull as ditchwater

I'm clearly in the minority on my rating of this book, but my goodness, what a chore to listen to.

The narrator is so monotonous and uninspiring in her delivery she sounds almost suicidal and I'm sure that has a lot to do with my perception of this book.

I got up to chapter 9 and still nothing of note in the book had happened by then, and following a prolonged period of half whispered, fully miserable narration I decided this is not for me.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 01-10-2019

Absolutely Incredible

Such an amazing story! I normally read quite trashy fiction and this has been such a breath of fresh air. The story is brought to life by Moss, who had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was truly addicted to this book and feel so sad that it’s finished!

5 people found this helpful

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  • A. Peacock
  • 01-10-2019

too close for comfort

I listened to this over a few days while decorating! kept having to pause painting to listen intently. Really good narrator. I dipped in
to the tv series but I couldn't engage with it so was unsure about this book, but it's been really enjoyable - if that's the right word!

5 people found this helpful

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  • Azzz
  • 29-05-2019

Fantastic

Absolutely loved this dark and beautiful book. Elizabeth Moss’s performance is seamless. It is the best book I have listened to so far.

16 people found this helpful

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  • David W.
  • 20-05-2019

truly fantastic

I've struggled with audio versions of this book before by the original English narrator and Claire Danes. This version is by far superior. The book was written in 1985 however it could well have been yesterday and should be on the syllabus of any school. definitely worth a audible credit and now I'm eagerly looking forward to The Testaments.

27 people found this helpful

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  • Grovesy
  • 03-10-2019

Perfect

loved every minute! beautiful, thought-provoking prose and captivating narration. elizabeth moss is, of course, on point. highly recommended.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Milly
  • 20-06-2019

Can't get enough!

The Handmaid's Tale is one of the best books / tv shows to ever happen. The book / audiobook is excellent I just wish there were more

7 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-06-2019

5 star loving it

loved it got through it in less then a week, was also reading along too.happy that it's read by the woman who plays offred in the series. her voice relaxes me

6 people found this helpful