This is a book to read when young - a compulsive, fierce and terrifying novel that you will not forget
'It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge'
Offred is a Handmaid. She has only one function: to breed. If she refuses to play her part she will, like all dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. She may walk daily to the market and utter demure words to other Handmaids, but her role is fixed, her freedom a forgotten concept.
Offred remembers her old life - love, family, a job, access to the news. It has all been taken away. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire.
Includes exclusive content: In The 'Backstory' you can read Margaret Atwood's account of how she came to write this landmark dystopian novel
'Compulsively readable' Daily Telegraph
“Out of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perceptions, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit”
Peter Kemp, Independent
“The Handmaid's Tale is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story”
“Moving, vivid and terrifying. I only hope it's not prophetic”
Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Listener
“The images of brilliant emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel about totalitarian blindness...the effect is chilling”
Linda Taylor, Sunday Times
Robert Irwin, Time Out
“It's hard to believe it is 25 years since it was first published, but its freshness, its anger and its disciplined, taut prose have grown more admirable in the intervening years... Atwood's novel was an ingenious enterprise that showed, with out hysteria, the real dangers to women of closing their eyes to patriarchal”
Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday
“Turned 25 this year and...worth re-reading. As you grow, such books grow with you”
Erica Wagner, The Times, Christmas round up
“Fiercely political and bleak, yet witting and wise...this novel seems ever more vital in the present day”