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Publisher's Summary

"Are there any questions?" The final line in Margaret Atwood's modern classic, The Handmaid's Tale, has teased and perplexed fans since the book's original release more than 30 years ago. Now, in this Audible Original production, listeners get some of the answers they've waited so long to hear.

Featuring an all-new interview with Professor Piexoto, written by Atwood and performed by a full cast, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition is a must-listen for both fans and newcomers alike. Emmy Award winner Claire Danes (Homeland, Temple Grandin) gives a stirring performance of this classic in speculative fiction, where the message (and the warning) is now more timely than ever. In addition to rich sound design that honors the audio origins of Atwood's classic, the special edition also includes a brand-new afterword from the author and an essay written by author Valerie Martin (Mary Reilly, Property).

After a violent coup in the United States overthrows the Constitution and ushers in a new government regime, the Republic of Gilead imposes subservient roles on all women. Offred, now a Handmaid tasked with the singular role of procreation in the childless household of the enigmatic Commander and his bitter wife, can remember a time when she lived with her husband and daughter and had a job, before she lost everything, even her own name. Despite the danger, Offred learns to navigate the intimate secrets of those who control her every move, risking her life for mere glimpses of her former freedom, and records her story for future listeners.

Whether you're a fan of the original novel or someone who has recently discovered it, The Handmaid's Tale: Special Edition will shock, impress, and satisfy all those who listen.

©1985 O.W. Toad, Ltd. First American Edition 1986. Published by special arrangement with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. (P)2017 Audible, Inc.

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What listeners say about The Handmaid's Tale

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A collage of historically disregarded sacrifice

This is poignant and so relevant. All powerful people know that to control the population, you must control the women. How better to do this than by the manipulation of faith and the spread of misinformation and scapegoating? It's chilling to think how close to the truth this may become if we don't pay attention.
This book is magnificently written and a must read for all thoughtful, intelligent human beings.

9 people found this helpful

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A fabulous and terrifying read

It was excellent in 1985 when I first read it, and is just as wonderful today. Narrator was very believable.

7 people found this helpful

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Really entertaining and timely

I think that the Handmaid’s Tale will also be a timely story because it goes to the depths of what it means to be human.
Someone would say that this could never happen but I believe that unfortunately it is a quasi reality in some cases, the story is very well developed.
The end is the best part because it let’s your mind wonder freely on what will actually happen. It is fantastic, first book I have read/listen from Atwood, I will certainly read others in the future.

6 people found this helpful

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Disappointed

I'd heard so much about this book and love the TV series so I was shocked that I disliked this book so much. I found the story telling choppy, it didn't flow well. Overall a very disappointing experience.

5 people found this helpful

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definitely worth it

i find this book very interesting. it was wonderfully performed, and the content very intriguing. I have found myself on more than one occasion rethinking certain aspects of our every day life because of certain statements in the book, statements that make you think things we take for granted today. while the book itself is a dystopian it also leaves me feeling fortunate for where and how I can live life today.

10 people found this helpful

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One of the most important books ever written

Finally got around to reading this book, which I know is a Canadian masterpiece. Given everything going on in my province (Ontario), country (Canada), and to our southern neighbours, it’s scary how it seems like this book could have been written last week (instead of thirty years ago). Super interesting that all the crazy things that happen in this book are taken from actual historical events (Salem witch trials, nazi Germany etc.). Can’t wait to read the newly released sequel and the rest of Atwood’s books.

4 people found this helpful

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not thrilled with the time spent listening to it

this book was far above my reading level. it is very dark and non inspiring. makes one wonder about the levels of life we are experiencing. I wouldn't recommend it to light readers or one to listen to before bed time. I have no interest in reading any more books by Atwood.

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Still incredible

As the essay says, what makes a story timeless, is that it is even more timely as time goes on.

I somehow had never read The Handmaid’s Tale, but was very curious about it for a long time. After watching the incredible TV show in 2017, I knew I had to read it, and now I’m so glad I did with this audible book. The narration by Claire Danes is excellent.

Get this book!

7 people found this helpful

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2x Speed

The narrator reads very slowly, which I find is common for actors who are new to narrating. Listened to the whole book on 2x speed and it didn't feel rushed at all.

19 people found this helpful

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  • wen
  • 2019-12-01

I don't think I get this...

The narration is flat, maybe it is designed, but it does not help. I was waiting for the arc, for the story to pick up, then suddenly it ended. without development of character nor advancing the story, the book ends exactly where it starts. if this is a setup of multi book series, it is failing.

overall an uninspiring pictures of future or past, or a mixed of both. I'm having a hard time to grasp the point of this writing.

2 people found this helpful

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  • TaylorAlma
  • 2017-08-21

Amazing read.

Absolutely love the way this story was written, although I don't feel satisfied with the abrupt ending of offred's story.

I don't know why there are so many reviews asking about why there is music throughout, it is a vital part of the story when you get to the ending. Definitely recommend!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2018-08-25

Second time is even better than the first

Title says it all. Should be required reading in all schools around the world period.

1 person found this helpful

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  • DrHex
  • 2017-04-26

Silly scratchy musical transitions

Wonderful story with excellent narrative performance. That said, what is with the ridiculous scratchy music transitions at the beginning of section chapters? The sounds bear no reference to the plot and are irrelevant. The sound engineers didn't give any breathing time between these scrunch scratches and the narrative either making the production appear amateur.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-02-28

A great classic story

Well written, but a scary potential reality - especially with current events in very recent times (I know Margaret Atwood spoke out after the storming of the Capitol in January that when she wrote this in 1985 she never imagined it ever truly happening, and seeing it before her eyes terrified her).

I've only seen the first 3 episodes of the show, but I have purchased the DVDs of the first 2 seasons, and I know the next season (not sure if it's season 3 or 4!) starts in April. I hope to be able to watch it now that I have the full background of the book. Watching the show wasn't able to fully hold my interest at the time, a couple years ago, but I think I will be able to have a full appreciate it now. The parts of the show I can recall (and oddly, even about 2 years later I recall quite a bit of those 3 episodes! Unusual for me, especially so long after), were extremely close to the book. Anyone that has watched should read, because it's close (from what I can tell and recall) and will give even more in-depth information about what she is trying to convey about this fall of civilization.

I'm about to start book 2, The Testaments (she published this book only in Sept 2019, a long time after the original - is it updated and more contemporary or just a continuation of Handmaid's Tale, the rest of Offred's story?).


I bought this special edition audio (narrated by Claire Danes - excellent job!) that came with the extended afterword from the author, that sheds quite a bit more light on what she was writing and what she was thinking at the time. I really appreciated the additional insight! It also has an extra "classroom" lecture type setting that goes into a diary of a handmaiden. Definitely worth getting this one over the other, if you're not sure which one to go with (the extra voices are in that piece at the end - where they claim to have found a diary from the handmaiden and are discussing it in a lecture, many years later. Gives more info and insight into what life was like in a more anthropological way, even though it's just a quick segment, it's great!). I also bought the box-set of paperbacks of the 2 books together, and could read along.

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  • Yevgen Yasynskyy
  • 2019-12-11

THE HANDMAID'S TALE

There should be no need to write a review for this book. It is now Canadian classic that has been made into the TV show. I love how Margaret tell the story, although it was not what I was expected. I wish there was more answers... :)

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  • Tayliegh Lopez
  • 2019-10-24

whoa¡

In the late 1980's I saw a movie similar to the book. I prefer the book. Subjugation and oppression for the baby makers, history sounding off in fiction.

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  • Karen
  • 2019-02-16

Excellent!

A gripping performance of Atwood's novel. this edition has the added bonus of an afterword by the author and a reflective essay by a critic.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2018-08-10

Great and timely book

Excellent and detailed story that shows us how history and the future merge together to better understand issues that are both timely and relevant in today's world.

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  • Julie
  • 2017-09-17

Loved it, but one thing irked me

Clair Danes is a master narrator. I was drawn in to the story. Made to believe I could actually be hearing a firsthand account.

The one thing that bothered me was the chapter Intros. The solemn reading of the chapter number often followed by the audible click of a cassette player to play a brief clip of music, and another click to stop the music. It feels jarring. Unpolished without being purposeful. Rather than feeling jarred in the sense of "This is breifly putting the listener back into the time frame this fictional woman lived and lost", it feels like something you'd do as an angsty teen to try and add weight to a self-recorded oration of poems you'd written, without trying to edit the music in after like you would for a mix tape. Your friend is in on it. She reads the titles of each poem and runs the other cassette player. It's the kind of "serious" thing you get REALLY into at the time, but when you and your friend listen to it again as adults, it's just painfully funny.

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  • Dan
  • 2017-09-11

exceptional

you can't beat Margaret she is a Canadian icon and will go down hopefully not for a long time as one of the greatest authors of our time