Margaret Atwood (2010) The Handmaid’s Tale, Vintage Books
Posted by celticman on Fri, 08 Mar 2013
I’ve got a crap memory. I kept trying to remember Offred’s real name before she became a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. I don’t know if the book told me and I forgot or the book never told me and I never forgot, but forgot not to remember. I’ve read the book before but couldn’t remember what happened. In truth nothing much happens but everything changes. Women become things. Men remain men and battle for status and power all in the name of religious supremacy, a doctrinal view of the correct way of perceiving the bible. All of these things sound very familiar. I think this book was first published in the late 1960s before the bite of what is now religious fundamentalism. Dissenters are tortured and hanged at the wall or sent to die slowly of radiation sickness. With reproduction slowing and dying out the fertile woman is a rare commodity owned by those in power. Yep. That seems familiar too. I though the transcription of Offred’s friend Moira, while entertaining, didn’t seem to fit in. Seemed a bit off. There’s also something of the Animal Farm about the Commanders Byzantine duplicity. And the ‘Historical Notes’ at the end for me just don’t work. But it’s an interesting social document.