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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin.  

Shortlisted for Audiobook of the Year at the British Book Awards 2020.

Winner of Best Audiobook (Fiction) at the New York Festival Radio Awards 2020.

Read by Elisabeth Moss, star of the hit Channel 4 TV series. 

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.

Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of 21st-century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.

©2011 O W Toad Ltd (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Moss embodies the lead character, Offred, perfectly and reads with grace and at an ideal pace." (Daily Mail

"This beautifully produced audiobook version of Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale will whet appetites for its long-awaited sequel, The Testaments, released in September [...] The several narrators match the powerful heft of Atwood’s elegant, economical prose." (The Times)
 

More from the same

What listeners say about The Handmaid's Tale

Average Customer Ratings
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Elizabeth Moss's voice is too sinister

not pleasant to hear. gave me a migraine and I had to switch to the paper book

2 people found this helpful

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Scary almost realistic version of a crazy society

living in the 21st century, it's difficult to imagine the characters in a strong patriarchal society but Margaret Attwood does a great job of showing how much worse life could be for a woman. the book talks about a future where women have one job of reproducing and saving the world while men rule over them.
The narrator doesn't do complete justice to her role. She goes to complete whispers and then starts talking loudly making me adjust the volume at times. inspite of that, it's a good listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Absolutely brilliant!

It was truly a stunning tale, terrifying, the most terrifying book I've ever read. Absolutely brilliant!

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Exceptional

I would say this is the best dystopia I've ever read, putting it above Orwell's1984. The story is gripping, intimate and dark. The narration is superb, with expressions quite on point for the most part. Would highly recommend.

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A haunting tale

Being a woman of 21st century the story gave me goosebumps. It is shocking to read about such society. I was able to visualise the scenes closing my eyes. I was disgusted to see such humiliation of women. The narrator did a tremendous job. Her modulations were appropriate. The only thing that bothered me is the writing style. The narration jumps from reality to past memories then back to reality then inner thoughts to so fast that it loses its meaning. At first i thought "what lines did i miss?? She was talking about her mother and then she is using 'he' !!!" Then i realised the pattern. It is hard to believe it has been first published in 1984! Truly a work ahead of time. I believe if you listen to it after 50years from now it will hold the same charm like today. Age old classic it is.

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scary & wonderful

it was a very gripping story - scary and wonderful at once. The narration by Elizabeth Moss was great.

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The narrative tales

The way Margaret Atwood stretched a particular scene and gives little beats of details, it’s fabulous. Narration by elisabeth moss is outstanding

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Absolute delight

This book is haunting, yet great. Brillant story. Moss did an amazing job as narrator!

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All the more relevant in this day and age.

Right from the very beginning, the story will hook you. It is definitely one of the slower paced tales, and much of the time is spent in the musings of the protagonist. However, they are infinitely important to understand the nuances of emotion among the people when the usual societal structure goes haywire. In my opinion, the only weak point of the story is the bathos of its few final chapters.

Narration was extraordinary. Elisabeth Moss' voice infuses such life and person into the story that I wouldn't have thought possible.

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A dystopian classic

Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's tale is a Dystopian horrific story that reflects the aftermath of our modern life. The story is so much wonderful and poetic.

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  • aussieGeorge68
  • 04-06-19

Recommended before or after season 1 of series.

While clearly there is some overlap and some of the drama is in a somewhat different order to the TV series. I think its a compelling listen before or after season 1 of the TV series.

The primary story line of the book is solely narrated by Elisabeth Moss, with the other narrators only appearing at the end outside of the main story line. I found Elisabeth Moss extraordinary. I must say at the start of the book I was a little unsure about her, I think it was the case that she did not do her best work at the beginning and normal expectations one normally has about the clearer diction typical of most professional narrators. As my expectations washed away I found myself truly amazed by the performance the way the emotion of the character was conveyed was amazing.

I found the book was able to fill in various gaps in the TV series and carried far more impact on me than season 1 of the TV series, not to say I did not find the TV series fantastic as well.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Andrea Castillo
  • 04-02-21

Fascinating story and narration!

I absolutely loved this production! The story is engaging and Margaret Atwood's writing is impeccable.

There are many memorable moments in this story, but mostly it was just fascinating to actually picture the scenes and characters. The ceremonies were mind-blowing. If you want to listen to a meaningful story that is somewhat of a reality check at times for where we're heading to as a civilization, this audiobook is worth your time.

I loved the narrator. She really tells the story, she's not simply reading the words. She made me believe that all of it really did happen to her. Volume, pace, diction, tone... everything was just on the spot.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Colette
  • 16-09-19

A very well written story

After having watched the series, I wanted to listen to the book to see how different they were. I was not disappointed, such a compelling novel, I listened every spare moment that I got, longing for long car rides to be able to listen for extended periods of time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-07-19

Engancha

Estupendo. La voz te mete a fondo en la historia, que es impresionante. Te hace incluso pensar en sociedades donde hay grupos no tan lejos de como viven en esta distopia

1 person found this helpful

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  • Cliente Amazon
  • 07-06-21

Addictive

I could listen to this all day long and, to be quite honest, I have.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 09-05-21

great concept. but scenes and reality hop around

continuity is confusing. you jump from reality to fantasy and scene to unrelated scene like a rabbit. maybe text is better for this one.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 06-05-21

Elisabeth Moss is such a great narrator

I can listen to this for hours and not get bored. It's a great story and a great performance. Absolutely fantastic. Love it!

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  • Nicola
  • 11-12-20

Masterfully written but disturbing

The narration was exceptional. The story was masterfully written but the content was disturbing. I appreciated it but did not enjoy it.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 22-09-20

Interesting events and concept

Intriguing overall concept and events. Underwhelming toward the end, left wondering plenty of things - not in a good way. Beautifully read.

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  • inanc gurkan
  • 20-09-20

An Interesting Dystopia

Started very good, but I lost my focus on the last quarter and this gradually lowered my interest in following with the next book. However, I will definitely watch the show after this.

E. Moss is such a great actress and I have loads of respect for her. I really enjoyed listening to her and it was “alright” as the book is in mostly diary form. I think it would have been a better experience if there were a bit more distinct character sounds. To me, that is what I like in audiobooks, to experience the sounds of character.

Overall good story, well-read, and I have finished relatively quickly. Would recommend if the book description makes you excited

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  • Emma
  • 01-10-19

Absolutely Incredible

Such an amazing story! I normally read quite trashy fiction and this has been such a breath of fresh air. The story is brought to life by Moss, who had me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I was truly addicted to this book and feel so sad that it’s finished!

15 people found this helpful

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  • A. Peacock
  • 01-10-19

too close for comfort

I listened to this over a few days while decorating! kept having to pause painting to listen intently. Really good narrator. I dipped in
to the tv series but I couldn't engage with it so was unsure about this book, but it's been really enjoyable - if that's the right word!

10 people found this helpful

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  • Simon
  • 03-10-19

A Grim Tale Indeed

As there has naturally been so much excitement over the long-awaited sequel to this book I thought that it was nigh on time that I gave it a try. First up, I can see why it did and indeed continues to fascinate so many people. Atwood's portrayal of a brutally oppressive patriarchal society is as chilling and grim as they come. While I may indulge myself with the odd zombie apocalypse it's undoubtedly true that the only ingredient you really need to create a dystopian future is the human race.

Attwood creates a fine sense of paranoia and suffocating oppression. This is a quite unrelentingly grim and claustrophobic tale of one woman's bravery in a society totally dominated by men. Atwood gradually reveals a chillingly banal process of culture being subverted into oppression, it doesn't take much to penetrate the veneer of civilisation.

It's a thought-provoking book. Personally I never thought it quite lived up to all of the hype that's surrounded it recently. The constant hankering back to previous times and need to assign wistful memories to so many everyday events was just a little overdone I thought.

Still, it's a good, if pretty grim, read and a very thought-provoking book.

29 people found this helpful

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  • SMc
  • 04-02-20

High on promise low on delivery

I struggled to finish this book. I purchased because I missed the TV series so thought the storyline must be good.

I didn't enjoy the narration. She has a "fifty shades" type of tone with little variation. I overlooked this because I thought a great storyline would follow so I persevered.

The story feels unfinished. It revolves around a concept, an environment and a changed way of living. I feel this is all described with a series of examples but with no real story to hold it together and drive it forward.

I will not purchase part 2.

8 people found this helpful

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  • jonty59
  • 26-01-20

No plot-no characterisation-no dialogue-just bleak

Apart from Cormac McCarthy’s ‘ the Road’, this is the worst book I have ever listened to. There is no discernible plot, the characters are flat and lifeless, what dialogue there is is monosyllabic and mundane, and the back story is 2 dimensional and unimaginative. If there was even a little humour to give some relief to the interminable bleakness – but there is none, and I mean zero.

On the plus side, the narrator’s lifeless drone was perfectly suited to the depressing soulless tone of the writing. Also, I really enjoyed the finale as it meant an end to the dreary monotony.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Burcu ANIL
  • 24-07-19

A great pleasure to listen to

Not having seen the series on TV but having watched Elizabeth Moss in Mad Men I thought she would be good to listen to. I read Atwood before and liked her style. This audio book has exceeded my expectations to an extent I didn't think was possible. Atwood's use of language is mesmerising. And listening to Moss read it was like watching to a top quality play. The story? Amazing. Highly recommend it to anyone who wants to really think about the times we live in.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Simon Barker
  • 28-01-20

So boring

No idea why this is so revered - one of the dullest books I’ve ever struggled through.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Robyn
  • 29-01-20

Dystopian world story, or cautionary tale?

I had not seen the television series, or followed any of the hype - I just recognised the name of the book, so took a punt and listened.
It's a reasonably heavy listen, and it's told in the first person, set in the present, but the weirdness is explained by memories of before and of what happened - which gets us to the current predicament. It's difficult to write a review without giving too much away - part of what makes it interesting is the act of piecing it all together - how did this happen? When did this happen? What about the rest of the world? etc etc
Like I said, I've not read up on the hype or reviews - so apologies if what I'm writing is in conflict to anything you've read or believe - but these are the questions it raised for me by coming to this book "blind" as it were: Is the author trying to warn us about religious extremism; or perhaps a cautionary tale about what happens when sexual freedoms go too far?; or perhaps it's about the risk of pollution to our environment, and genetic tampering leading to a failure of society.....? Is this where we could end up if too many outliers / conspiracies are left uncontrolled and all combine to create this dystopian order?
I'm not sure I enjoyed this as entertainment, but it will certainly stay with me - thought provoking. (and surprisingly led to an interesting conversation in the office!). Warning: The TV series doesn't appear to follow the book's story too closely. I googled the TV series afterwards, and saw a couple of you tube clips - didn't recognise any of the scenes.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Azzz
  • 29-05-19

Fantastic

Absolutely loved this dark and beautiful book. Elizabeth Moss’s performance is seamless. It is the best book I have listened to so far.

17 people found this helpful

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  • David W.
  • 20-05-19

truly fantastic

I've struggled with audio versions of this book before by the original English narrator and Claire Danes. This version is by far superior. The book was written in 1985 however it could well have been yesterday and should be on the syllabus of any school. definitely worth a audible credit and now I'm eagerly looking forward to The Testaments.

29 people found this helpful

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  • kapow!
  • 15-10-19

read beautifully by Elisabeth

listening to this book was the reason why I could finish it, because of Elisabeth's beautiful narration and it was also chosen by my bookclub... the story is so morbid and is one where there is little hope, I would not have been able to keep reading it. I kept wondering throughout how the author was able to get her feet out of bed each day whilst being immersed in the writing of this book, it's such a depressing story. It is well-written, with minute details of a sad world.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 15-07-19

Feels like it moves slower than the tv series

I know it's meant to be a story of difficulty, but it's always so detailed and everything described is compared to something else. Too much detail and it becomes grueling by the end.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Carly Hopgood
  • 19-02-20

Outstanding performance

I was dubious I would be able to handle the story. But the narration of the story made it human and enticing.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Katie
  • 17-02-21

Hard Listen

This is really, really hard book to listen to. The narrator's monotone voice makes the book drag and feel like its never ending. It took me months to finish it. But that's the point - This is a depressing, soul destroying story and the narrator executed that perfectly. I will never listen to this again, although I'm glad I persevered and finished it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-08-20

A little slow but works the imagination

great narrator , in character, good to follow with the feeling attached enjoy your listen.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 17-02-20

A warning if bigots get a hold

The underlying premise, though extreme, does not appear to be beyond reality when one looks at the fanatical fever of some democracies today. However it is a little too slow for me with too much minutiae and too little scope.

1 person found this helpful

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  • lorraine cooper
  • 12-02-20

Margaret Atwood is a unique author

Margaret Atwood has taken the world and its current problems and extrapolated them to a situation that could occur in a society where men have all the power, the church (any belief taken to its extreme) takes over and tries to impress the will of "God" or substitute that for any divinity takes control and uses the word of the divinity out of context to make women conform.
That sounds terrible but I couldn't think any way of explaining the story without a 2000 word essay lol.
I thoroughly enjoyed it and I really do think that people male or female should read it because it is not out of the realms of possibility.
I am now about to start the next book.
It is read mainly in a monotonal voice but that is purposeful to make us understand the oppression and treatment of women. Even when the character speaking is day dreaming about how life was it doesn't change because she has been worn down to expect nothing, do her duties without question with no escape to another way of life. Even memories are forbidden.
I do recommend this as an excellent book. It may take a little while to get in to, but you can rewind, or go back and listen again.
Enjoy,

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-01-20

Fantastic

What a brilliant read! I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this and only purchased it because I loved the televised series sooo much, but as strange as it sounds, I actually enjoyed the T.V series a lot more and am really looking forward to the release of the next season.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-01-20

fantastic narration.

loved this. found it riveting. the narration made it so real. Will definitely be reading the sequel.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Emma
  • 20-06-19

So slow

A fascinating near future scenario under extreme religious rule. Thoroughly descriptive and slow paced.

I am still looking forward to the sequel and will read it.

1 person found this helpful