quarta-feira, 24 de janeiro de 2018

Book Review | The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Here's a book so horrifyingly sad and beautiful it haunts a reader who might try then to find similarities between fiction and reality. The Handmaid's Tale is set in a future where women's rights were reversed because of and in a climate of political oppression, pollution, and overall uncertainty. Margaret Atwood calls it speculative fiction. The book was written after George Orwell's 1984 and is said to have been slightly inspired by it. Each in their own sphere is a chilling account of what might one day be if. Let us hope none of them materialize.

Atwood's novel is a firsthand account set in Gilead, within the borders of the United States. The main character is Offred, a telling epithet that pretty much summarizes the plot. It turns out, in this possible future women are a commodity or a possession. Thus, the preposition of and name of the man to whom women are associated with are what constitutes their new name. Fertility rates have plummeted and the top 1% have access to fertile women, Handmaids, who bear them children just out of the kindness of their hearts, a feat imposed by Christian religion based on bible accounts. So, not exactly a willing thing. Free will does not exist in this world.

The plot is purposely chopped (at the end we know why and how that happens) and details of this new system are embedded in Offred's account of her daily life after she becomes an Handmaid and in memories of a previous existence that went sour. Margaret Atwood ingeniously imagined how terrorism can be turned into a weapon by the supposedly terrorized country to enslave its own people, how the effects of pollution can possibly impact humankind, and how one individual can become oppressed and obedient in this grim environment.

I could have read this book in one or two days, it was so enticing. The writing style is compelling and poetic, weaving beautiful scenery into terrifying experience, words crafted in a resulting pleasurable read. I could not get enough of Offred's story, and I wanted a conclusion, which did not satisfy. That's mainly why I'll be watching the television series. To see what's possible. To see Offred once more. SPOILER: in my mind, she did escape. The ending left me hopeless, but the historical notes made it seem that at least women regained some control. 


Notice how different this review is from my previous one on another Atwood's novel. 

Where can you purchase this book?


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