The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

By Margaret Atwood

  • Release Date: 2012-05-15
  • Genre: Literary
Score: 4.5
From 914 Ratings



Discover the dystopian novel behind the award-winning TV series before you read the Booker Prize-winning sequel The Testaments

‘I believe in the resistance as I believe there can be no light without shadow; or rather, no shadow unless there is also light.’

Offred is a Handmaid in The Republic of Gilead, a religious totalitarian state in what was formerly known as the United States. She is placed in the household of The Commander, Fred Waterford – her assigned name, Offred, means ‘of Fred’. She has only one function: to breed. If Offred refuses to enter into sexual servitude to repopulate a devastated world, she will be hanged. Yet even a repressive state cannot eradicate hope and desire. As she recalls her pre-revolution life in flashbacks, Offred must navigate through the terrifying landscape of torture and persecution in the present day, and between two men upon which her future hangs.

Masterfully conceived and executed, this haunting vision of the future places Margaret Atwood at the forefront of dystopian fiction.

'As relevant today as it was when Atwood wrote it…no television event has hit such a nerve …’ Guardian



  • Directionless

    By Omnipaddy
    By season 3 this is a monotonous slog - a punishing extension of the original idea. I guess a bit like the handmaid predicament. With no discernible plot development or intrigue, it’s hard to fathom what it’s purpose is other than to perpetuate the lucrative series franchise. It seems like every episode concludes with some meaningful stare to camera with resolve, only to be reset in the following episode to another trudge through hopeless misery. Series 3 will be my personal farewell to this narrative frustration.
  • Brilliant

    By MegaWh
    So clever really enjoyed this, one of those you pick up and can’t put down until you’ve finished!
  • Awful

    By Daisysaunt
    Worst read I’ve had in years, unsure why it’s been made into a tv series, style of writing changed throughout, story was hard to follow, didn’t flow and ended awful, save your money and don’t buy
  • The Handmaiden’s Tale

    By Fenchface
  • Disappointing ending

    By hgusjd
    The book isn't finished. Very very extremely disappointing and pointless. I have invested a lot of time into reading this book for it to simply finish halfway through the story. I even checked to see if there was a sequel, but no. Really very bad. All the things you want to know and have been building up to simply do not get answered. I wish I had never read the book, complete waste of time. Shockingly bad.
  • A Modern Classic

    By FinZter
    A book that was way ahead of its time when it first appeared over 30 years ago. Still ahead of its time even now, even though the frightening dystopian future of the narrative seems almost possible in these days if Trump and the bigoted religious centre of American Politics. Very hard to put down and Ms Atwood's uncompromising style and candour is breathtaking.
  • The handmaids tale

    By tutengil
    Really one of the best books I have read in a long long time. I was drawn into Offreds world and suffered her boredom, fear, elation, despair and wretchedness night after night reading this.... you won't put it down and you will have days of weariness following 1am marathon reading sessions. The ending itself is so unusual and quite inspirational leaving me reflecting on her demise or her escape and wondering about her onward journey if it was so? I loved this novel and highly recommend it, this vision of the future could easily happen for sure.....frightening thought
  • Surprisingly good!

    By imwalkingtheplank
    Interesting political tale and a deep dive into a reality which doesn't seem too impossible even today.
  • Slow

    By Lodgey
    I'm struggling to be honest. It's a bit slow. Tried reading it before but lost the will to live about half way through. Giving it another go. Update: yep. Still a bit like wading through treacle!
  • Dull

    By Keithsing806
    Didn't grip me at all. Had to finish it because I can't leave a book half finished.