THE NUMBER 1 BESTSELLER AND WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
‘The Testaments is Atwood at her best . . . To read this book is to feel the world turning’ Anne Enright
The Republic of Gilead is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, two girls with radically different experiences of the regime come face to face with the legendary, ruthless Aunt Lydia. But how far will each go for what she believes?
Now with additional material: book club discussion points and an interview with Margaret Atwood about the real-life events that inspired The Testaments and The Handmaid’s Tale.
About the author
Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid’s Tale, went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against the disempowerment of women, and with the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. ‘Her sequel, The Testaments, was published in 2019. It was an instant international bestseller and won the Booker Prize.’
Atwood has won numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.
I’ve watched a lot of horrific films, some of the worst, and I’ve read some shocking books, but the fictional state of Gilead genuinely scares me. Why? Because I know worldwide there are women’s rights issues aplenty that still need resolving. Being plunged into a totalitarian theocracy virtually overnight, one such as Gilead, would be the worst thing ever and ‘The Testaments’ explores how this fictional state developed over a few years.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has to be one of the most horrifying stories ever written or shown on television. To be forced into a life such as that of a Handmaid’s would be a life not worth living. I look at the Wives and the Martha’s, those lives would be pants too.
‘The Testaments’ fast forwards a few years and tells the stories of two teenage girls, one from Gilead and the other from the free world that is Canada. It also lets us into Aunt Lydia’s thoughts. As for Commander Judd, he’s a prominent character who I despised. I don’t normally harbour a cruel streak but if someone were to pin him down and push pencils into his popping eyes, I don’t think I’d lose much sleep.
Dystopian fiction that borders on reality, if you consider the complete history of humankind and other countries today that have strict rules which oppress women, this isn’t too far out there. I mean, see this article, women have only recently been allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia. What the frigging hell? While this is happening in the world, the fight isn’t over. Just because I’m sitting pretty here, it doesn’t mean every other woman is. As you can tell, the themes in this book are highly emotive.
It reminds me that we still need to fight the feminist fight and never let it slip. If we do, we open up the door to let the power hungry move in and take what we’ve achieved. Before anyone questions the role of feminism, just think, without The Suffragettes, women might not have the right to vote today. They made themselves heard and they paid in pain, suffering and death to give us a freedom we possibly take for granted.
Anyway, back to the book! I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’m feeling disturbed after reading it. It’s sad, tragic, and highly thought provoking. I loved the ending especially the way things were tied up. I knew I’d find it to be an emotional read and it didn’t disappoint.
Margaret Atwood is nothing short of a genius, that’s for definite!
Thanks for reading!
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