The Testaments: The Sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale
Readers have been abuzz about The Testaments all year. The highly anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale answers questions that readers have had for thirty years. What happened to Offred? How did Gilead fall? The book is told in the voices of three females: two young women coming of age--one within Gilead and one outside in Canada--and the famed and cruel Aunt Lydia. The step away from the severe oppression experienced by the handmaids provides other interesting perspectives: that of a child growing up in the regime, knowing nothing else; the views of outside countries and the resistance; and the reasons and ways people become complicit in the rise of oppressive societies.
While not as explosive as The Handmaid's Tale (I first read the book as a young teen and it shook me), The Testaments is a satisfying and compelling conclusion to Atwood's original story. My initial difficulty tracking the three narrators, plus a marked indifference for the two younger characters, knocked this down a bit for me, but Aunt Lydia's story had me hooked. Her choices and systematic long game are excellent book club fodder. Atwood is not subtle in her politics or in the ways she draws parallels to today's political climate. If you share her concerns, or if you're just fascinated by the Gilead of her imagination, this is a must read.
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Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, has become a modern classic—and now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.