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The Handmaid's Tale

Narrated by: Joanna David
Length: 10 hrs and 23 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (3,919 ratings)
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Summary

In a remarkably prescient account of a dystopian society, this is Margaret Atwood's chilling tale of one woman's experience of an oppressive regime and the claustrophobic niche it insists she occupy.

The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed . If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs….

©2011 Margaret Atwood (P)2011 Random House Audio Go

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  • Raison
  • BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom
  • 10-11-13

A favourite

This was always one of my favorites from a young age. Listening to it was an absolute pleasure and took me back to the time when i first discovered this book.

Margaret Atwood's vision of this male dominated society in which women are segmented into their different roles for 'the good of whole' draws you in and doesn't let you go until the very end.

It hauntingly reflects attitudes that unfortunately exist in some cultures in our world today and makes you take a closer look at society in general.

I know this is a book i will listen to over and over again.

36 of 36 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wrong narrator

Joanna David is excellent reading Jane Austen but she is just so wrong for the voice of the young Canadian woman at the heart of this wonderful, important novel. I just couldn't listen to it after a few chapters and had to buy an alternative reading by Claire Danes which is available on cd from Amazon. It's not perfect, but her voice does seem to match the central character who is also the narrator relating the story. I don't understand why that isn't available on Audible - it should be.

87 of 91 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Expertly written dystopian fantasy... Or is it?

It IS expertly written. Beautifully crafted, as if each word has been considered carefully, then checked for size, sound, cadence, and context, before being painstakingly positioned onto the page. Yet it has a lightness and freshness that such elegantly written pieces often lack. It has passages as lush and luxuriant as a bath full of feathers; and others that cut into you like a dagger.It truly is a masterpiece.
And it IS dystopian. My God it's dystopian! It is hard to digest some of the images that the book conjures, such is the disgust, revulsion, empathy, pathos, helplessness and complete hopelessness that it instills. The amazing storytelling of Margaret Atwood, make you feel that you are there. This book will be alive in my consciousness for as long as I live. I have been rocked to the core by it.

So why the "Or is it?"?

Well, without giving the game away, I felt as if I was being transported to a caricature of the 'now' world of ISIS/IS, or the extremes of Taliban Afghanistan. This did feel like dystopian fantasy, but with the caveat that it is a dystopia that is not far off what is happening to some people in our world now. That it captures our world of the 21st century, when it was written in 1985 shows the genius that Margaret Atwood is.

Brilliantly read too!

28 of 29 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

A great book to listen to :)

Honestly this has been the best novel I've listened to so far on audible. I know some others have found the narrator didn't fit, and I must admit that I myself had to get used to her voice. But overall she narrated it beautifully. The storyline itself is very interesting and well-written. However, it does sometimes get confusing, as it jumps into flashbacks and flashforwards and becomes a bit difficult to keep track.

This is an excellent book and I can see myself listening to it again in the near future.

25 of 26 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Solid performance.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I would recommend this for fans of Margaret Atwood's speculative fictions.The first person narrator did, in the end, for me, get a little trying. I particularly liked the historical notes tagged onto the end!

What three words best describe Joanna David’s performance?

Joanna David does a decent job narrating this tale but hamstrung by her cut glass and slightly breathy english accent. This tale is set in New England or Maine and is peppered with references and allusions that have a local colour. Why, then, didn't we have an american reading the book. I think this would have made more sense and might have even have made it a little more engaging. (ps I am Welsh and not being nationalistic!).

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

half and half

I found the narrator to be excellent throughout
I thought the first half of the story was meh due to the oversecretive writing style which just came off as silly, though once you get over this and there's been some world building the second half is pretty good

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Can't finish this

I feel it's a bit unfair to rate before finishing listening, but I'm really struggling to get over the narrator's English accent (I am English), which seems inauthentic against the story, which is clearly set in a distopian North America and uses jargon that sounds really incongruous when said by an English person. If you can get over this, give this book a go, I guess!

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

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Good story, would be easier on paper

The story was fascinating and the performance was very good, but it is a book that is more suited to being read then listened to.

It is one of those books where you find your self stopping, whilst reading, to think about what they've just written, something which you don't give your self time for when listening. This means the book runs ahead of you while you are still mulling it over, and I had to rewind parts because I had been to focused on the last part.

All in all I would recommend the story but would urge you to read a physical copy.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The narrator killed the story

This is an amazing work of literature which was honestly life changing for me when reading it but in the first ten minutes of it I already wanted to die because the voice reading this absolutely did not fit the voice of the characters and the story.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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Absolutely the wrong narrator!!!

The narrator maybe excellent reading Jane Austen but she absolutely the wrong voice for the young woman at the centre of this incredible & important novel. I could not bear to listen to it after a couple of chapters and had to find the alternative version by Claire Danes, whose voice and performance is suit the story perfectly! There is a slither of logic as to why audible chose an English narrator for a uk market, but the incredibly, incredibly, posh voice does not suit this text in the slightest. I could not imagine this upper class sounding voice realistically representing the voice of the ordinary sounding background of the central character. It is totally unsuited and disconnected. The equivalent would be getting a thick working class accent from the deep South of America to narrate Pride and Prejudice. Out of place and out of context. What a waste of time and energy.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Earnest
  • 09-04-17

Pit stop to hell.

This story needs to be understood by all men and women without the interference of various "softening" or "dramatic license" or anything else. It is not perfect in either its form or content but it contains an imperative.
Read this and understand what is at risk. Already. Again.
Are we all to end up as footnotes in a sociological history conference in a galaxy far away? Without resistance?
We were warned.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 10-08-17

Superb

Top marks for the story and the narration. The author transports us right through the wall of "that could never happen" into "yes that really could happen". That is quite an achievement - to make something which is both horrific and unecessary become a solid reality and something which happened **on purpose**. Which in turn carries us from "yes that really could happen" to "that must not be allowed to happen".

As for the narration, it may be the best I've come across in Audible. I'm not privy to the author's thoughts but I feel as if the narrator has captured every nuance as the author intended.

Recommended, without hesitation.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Anene Britz
  • 08-07-17

A gripping story and a great performance.

I enjoyed the performance and the story, it was extremely well written but would have loved to have some more detail on a few things in the plot. It was definitely not an easy Sunday listen with some shocking content. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Marcel
  • 08-02-18

Couldn't get into it.

I heard that this book was excellent. Unfortunately, it failed to get my full attention. The text is jam-packed with too many adjectives, which makes it slow to get any point across. The story itself is not that interesting either. I often felt that the author overlooked the readers by including long-winded narratives, which don't convey anything effectively. I simply couldn't finish this book. Got to the point that it became irritating. Overall, it is not a book I would recommend. I'm surprised it is popular.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Trish
  • 24-09-15

A must read

This book, gripping and chilling, grabs you from an apocalyptic future and propels you through an intense narrative about a world where religion has become the cruel, sinister dictator we all secretly fear that it could.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Rodrigo
  • 24-10-18

Great book not so great performer

It is sometimes difficult to understand dialogues because the performer does the same voice for everyone. In addition, at the end, it takes time to understand the Historical Remarks are not part of the main story as no sufficiently long pause or voice change is done by the performer.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-10-18

Gripping story and performance!!

Both the story and the performance is so gripping and thought provoking and masterfully executed.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Miss M Holder
  • 18-08-18

3 says to complete

1st time listening via audio book. My imagination still visualized, as when reading. Loved it.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Chris
  • 04-08-18

Better on TV

I have enjoyed the much extended television to greater exrend and read this just to see the starting material.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ruby Subba
  • 29-05-18

Beautifully performed

The Handmaid’s Tale is an epic story but Joanna David’s performance brings it to life, subtle change in the tone or voice modulation brings the biggest of differences to the narrative. Really recommended.