Cover image for
Title:
The handmaid's tale
Author(s):
Atwood, Margaret, 1939-
ISBN/ISSN:
1432838474

9781432838478
Personal Author:
Edition:
Large print edition.
Physical Description:
531 pages (large print) ; 23 cm.
Series:
Thorndike Press large print core

Thorndike Press large print core series.
Abstract:
This look at the near future presents the story of Offred, a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, an oppressive world where women are no longer allowed to read and are valued only as long as they are viable for reproduction.

In this Orwellian dramatization, religion becomes a tool of repression and social control to force women into the roles of stay-at-home wives, domestic staff, prostitutes, or surrogate mothers. They have no rights to their bodies or property and are completely dependent upon men. Those women who have had at least one child find themselves forced into the role of breeding machine, producing children for childless couples. References to 20th-century issues abound, including Agent Orange, abortion, women's rights, and escape attempts to Canada.
Pub Date:
Thorndike Press, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning, 2017.

©1986
Holds:

Available:*

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Shelf Number
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Bracewell - Houston Public Library Adult Large print Large print book ATWOO
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Central - Houston Public Library Adult Large print Large print book ATWOO
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Floating Collection - Houston Public Library Adult Large print Large print book ATWOO
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Jungman - Houston Public Library Adult Large print Large print book ATWOO
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Looscan - Houston Public Library Adult Large print Large print book ATWOO
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Summary

Author Notes

Margaret Atwood was born on November 18, 1939 in Ottawa, Canada. She received a B.A. from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1961 and an M.A. from Radcliff College in 1962.

Her first book of verse, Double Persephone, was published in 1961 and was awarded the E. J. Pratt Medal. She has published numerous books of poetry, novels, story collections, critical work, juvenile work, and radio and teleplays. Her works include The Journals of Susanna Moodie, Power Politics, Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Morning in the Buried House, the MaddAdam trilogy, and The Heart Goes Last. She has won numerous awards including the Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, the Booker Prize in 2000 for The Blind Assassin, the Giller Prize and the Premio Mondello for Alias Grace, and the Governor General's Award in 1966 for The Circle Game and in 1986 for The Handmaid's Tale, which also won the very first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. She won the PEN Pinter prize in 2016 for her political activism. She was awarded the 2016 PEN Pinter Prize for the outstanding literary merit of her body of work.

(Bowker Author Biography) Margaret Atwood is the author of more than twenty-five books, including fiction, poetry, and essays. Among her recent works are the bestselling novels, Alias Grace and The Robber Bride, and the short-story collections, Good Bones and Simple Murders and Wilderness Tips. Atwood lives in Toronto, Canada.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Offred, a handmaid living in a near-future time, endures life in a society in which women able to bear children are used for procreation. (D 1 85 Adult Upfront)


Library Journal Review

In this Orwellian dramatization, religion becomes a tool of repression and social control to force women into the roles of stay-at-home wives, domestic staff, prostitutes, or surrogate mothers. They have no rights to their bodies or property and are completely dependent upon men. Those women who have had at least one child find themselves forced into the role of breeding machine, producing children for childless couples. References to 20th-century issues abound, including Agent Orange, abortion, women's rights, and escape attempts to Canada. At least 14 different readers make it easy for the listener to distinguish among the various characters. Despite sound effects and some indistinguishable white noise, there are a few spots with dead air. This program will be of interest to Atwood fans and those interested in futuristic tales. Recommended for public and academic libraries.-Laurie Selwyn, Grayson Cty. Law Lib., Sherman, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

One of Canada's outstanding authors (an old poem of hers reads, ``You fit into me/ like a hook into an eye/ a fish hook/ an open eye'') has written a novel to rival Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-four. It is the US nearly a century from now, its government a repressive theocracy where women are nothing and everything. They are enslaved, so this is an important feminist novel; but they serve an elderly commander whose sole function is to mechanically impregnate them, like some slave insect that quickens a queen bee. The men are few, the women many. The narrator is one of these queen bees, Offred-she belongs to Fred-and she pieces her story together slowly and with such matter-of-fact and nightmarish credibility that an entire society is realized, a horror world so muffled and enclosed that when one of the women says an innocent and anachronistic 20th-century ``hello'' to another, a chill races down the reader's spine. Although its contents are sometimes sensationalist, it is a magnificently crafted and understated novel. Unreservedly recommended.-P. Cousins, Schenectady County Community College


Excerpts

Excerpts

from the Introduction In the spring of 1984 I began to write a novel that was not initially called  The Handmaid's Tale . I wrote in long hand, mostly on yellow legal notepads, then transcribed my almost illegible scrawlings using a huge German-keyboard manual typewriter that I'd rented.   The keyboard was German because I was living in West Berlin, which was still encircled by the Berlin Wall: the Soviet empire was still strongly in place and was not to crumble for another five years. Every Sunday the East German air force made sonic booms to remind us of how close they were. During my visits to several countries behind the Iron Curtain--Czechoslovakia, East Germany--I experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing. So did the repurposed buildings.  This used to belong to . . . But then they disappeared.  I heard such stories many times.   Having been born in 1939 and come to consciousness during World War II, I knew that established orders could vanish overnight. Change could also be as fast as lightning.  It can't happen here  could not be depended on: anything could happen anywhere, given the circumstances.   By 1984, I'd been avoiding my novel for a year or two. It seemed to me a risky venture. I'd read extensively in science fiction, speculative fiction, utopias and dystopias ever since my high school years in the 1950s, but I'd never written such a book. Was I up to it? The form was strewn with pitfalls, among them a tendency to sermonize, a veering into allegory, and a lack of plausibility. If I was to create an imaginary garden, I wanted the toads in it to be real. One of my rules was that I would not put any events into the book that had not already happened in what James Joyce called the "nightmare" of history, nor any technology not already available. No imaginary gizmos, no imaginary laws, no imaginary atrocities. God is in the details, they say. So is the devil.   Back in 1984, the main premise seemed--even to me--fairly outrageous. Would I be able to persuade readers that the United States of America had suffered a coup that had transformed an erstwhile liberal democracy into a literal-minded theocratic dictatorship? In the book, the Constitution and Congress are no longer: the Republic of Gilead is built on a foundation of the seventeenth-century Puritan roots that have always lain beneath the modern-day America we thought we knew.   The immediate location of the book is Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard University, now a leading liberal educational institution but once a Puritan theological seminary. The Secret Service of Gilead is located in the Widener Library, where I had spent many hours in the stacks, researching my New England ancestors as well as the Salem witchcraft trials. Would some people be affronted by the use of the Harvard wall as a display area for the bodies of the executed? (They were.)   In the novel, the population is shrinking due to a toxic environment, and the ability to have viable babies is at a premium. (In today's real world, studies in China are now showing a sharp fertility decline in Chinese men.) Under totalitarianisms--or indeed in any sharply hierarchical society--the ruling class monopolizes valuable things, so the elite of the regime arrange to have fertile females assigned to them as Handmaids. The biblical precedent is the story of Jacob and his two wives, Rachel and Leah, and their two handmaids. One man, four women, twelve sons--but the handmaids could not claim the sons. They belonged to the respective wives.   And so the tale unfolds. Excerpted from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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