Thursday, April 6, 2017
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
I'll be thinking about this novel for a long time. It was such an unusual story.
Everything came crashing down suddenly - a crisis, then the complete destruction of American government. Without warning, all women's bank accounts were frozen; their credit cards were no good; they had no money, no way to support themselves. Things went downhill from there.
The story was told in flashbacks, and sometimes a little hard to follow. It told of the central character's life before, when she had a husband, a child, and a job; and their desperate attempt to escape to Canada; and of her "training" with other women to her new life as a "Handmaid" - an Old Testament style surrogate childbearer for a leader of the new society and his wife. (Think Abraham and Hagar)
She is known only as "Offred" ("of Fred," the Commander whose household she serves). She is a quiet, unassuming woman who only tries to keep her head down (literally) and not make waves. Information comes to her through unexpected sources, and new opportunities are presented, until finally, her life is changed again, and again she is running for her life.
A Bookcrossing friend sent me this book, for which I am very grateful. Dystopian literature is not my genre of choice, but I found this enthralling.
Editing to add a NPR Weekend Edition transcript that I heard Sunday, April 23, 2017: The Handmaid's Tale Is Among a Resurgence of Dystopian Literature