Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Handmaid’s Tale

from the diary: “Sunday 11/29/87

“I read Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s been compared to 1984. Well, the writing was better than almost any science fiction novel I’ve read but the ending was kind of weak. Got pretty absurd in the final third.”

In looking around the web for reviews I was surprised to see The Handmaid’s Tale is a frequently assigned text in classes. So there are detailed guides to it, from Wikipedia, to sparknotes and bookrags.

The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a dystopian Xian near future in which men are allowed a sort of second wife called a “handmaid” both for housekeeping and for sexual recreation. I remember a lesbian character; she’s part of the resistance, working undercover in a brothel.


David Lee Ingersoll said...

I don't remember many details. Mostly being annoyed with the end, the third party narration telling me that it probably all turned out all right. The ambiguous end to the narrator's story worked much better for me. The add on felt like the author trying to assure me that Yes, it was awful but there was a happy ending! No need to worry!. Please. It's a dystopia.

Which makes it sound like I didn't like the book. Which isn't accurate.

Glenn Ingersoll said...

Sounds like our reactions were similar, though I don't remember the text well enough to know what irked me about "the final third." (And I decided I wasn't going to pore over the guides on the web to try to figure that out.)