The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood


I skipped much of this when I read it for the first time, 15 years or so ago. It seemed too dense, too tense, too darn improbable to bother wading through. Reading it now, with a little more life experience, I found the first half of the book raw and painfully gripping, considering that the narrator spends much of her time staring at the wall (or, given the nature of her predicament, the ceiling). Feminist writing is rarely as accomplished as this - other than, of course in Atwood's other novels. And yet... it runs out of steam towards the end, tries to build a weak plot, ends ambiguously and then shoots itself in the head with an ill-advised explanatory epilogue. That's the part I should have skipped this time round.


  1. I read this when I was at university. I remember being impressed by it. I don't actually remember it at all though. One to reread. I like rereading things I read in those formative university years, it gives me a sense of how far I've come. Becoming a mum, in particular, has changed my perspective enormously.

  2. This is definitely one you read differently once you're a parent: the image of the narrator's daughter being dragged from her, arms outstretched, is more disturbing now I'm a mother. In general, the feminist context seems both dated and important to keep in mind.

  3. You might like my dystopian novel "Rabbletown: Life in These United Christian States of Holy America." Of course I love it if you reviewed any of my works: