Fully revised with an introduction by the author this exquisite edition is an object of beauty in language and image, an exemplar of all that is possible, past, present, and future.
In The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) by Margaret Atwood, humanity’s reproductive ability has been so compromised by nuclear disasters, chemical warfare, industrial toxins, and contaminated food supplies that the few women left with the potential to breed are forced by the state to devote themselves entirely to producing offspring. Offred recounts her experience as a Handmaid, or walking womb, in the Republic of Gilead. In a post-apocalyptic era, this repressive society is run by the Commanders. Unwomen, those who don’t qualify as Handmaids–Marthas (maids), Wives, or Aunts (indoctrinators) are exiled to the colonies to clean up toxic waste. The Handmaids are trained by the Aunts to passively submit monthly to copulation with their assigned Commanders. During the “celebration,” a Handmaid is held down by the Commander’s Wife, whose role will be to raise the child, should they all be so lucky. If Offred fails to breed within three years, her status will revert to Unwoman. A novel of outstanding literary merit, The Handmaid’s Tale is abundant with sharp, dazzling images, trenchant descriptions, sardonic observations, and disarming poignancy.