2012 Selection: The Handmaid's Tale

About The Handmaid’s Tale

In the world of the near future, who will control women’s bodies?

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now.

Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa in 1939 and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master’s degree from Radcliffe College. She has received more than 55 awards, including two Governor General’s Awards The Circle Game (1966) and The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). She has been shortlisted for Britain’s Booker Prize five times, winning once for The Blind Assassin (2000).

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction, and non-fiction. She is perhaps best known for her novels, which include The Edible Woman (1970), The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), The Robber Bride (1994), Alias Grace (1996), and The Blind Assassin (2000).

Atwood’s dystopic novel, Oryx and Crake, was published in 2003. The Tent and Moral Disorder both appeared in 2006. Her most recent volume of poetry, The Door, was published in 2007. Her non-fiction book, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, part of the Massey Lecture series, appeared in 2008, and her most recent novel, The Year of the Flood, in the autumn of 2009. Ms. Atwood’s work has been published in more than forty languages, including Farsi, Japanese, Turkish, Finnish, Korean, Icelandic, and Estonian.