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The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be read on its own or as a companion to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale.
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: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.
With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood 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.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Margaret Atwood’s feverishly anticipated sequel to her 1985 bestseller, The Handmaid’s Tale, is an absolute triumph. The novel takes us back to Gilead, the theocratic hellscape where women are property and reproduction is the highest calling. Trouble is afoot, and Atwood provides three guides to help us navigate the upheaval: Aunt Lydia, whose regrets color her memoirlike narrative, and two young women whose fates intersect in an unexpected and gratifying way. Atwood’s storytelling prowess is on full display here, as is her sharp eye for witty cultural references: Each evening, Aunt Lydia visits the Schlafly Cafe for a soothing cup of warm milk. Exhilarating and hugely satisfying, The Testaments was 35 years in the making—and well worth the wait.
Atwood's confident, magnetic sequel to The Handmaid's Tale details the beginning of the end for Gilead, the authoritarian religion-touting dystopia where fertile single women (handmaids) live in sexual servitude. The novel opens in New England 15 years after the first novel ends. Aunt Lydia has become a renowned educator, an ally of Gilead's spy chief, and an archivist for Gilead's secrets. Ensconced in her library, Aunt Lydia recalls how she went from prisoner to collaborator during Gilead's early days. Now she is old and dying and ready for revenge. Her plan involves two teenagers. Gilead native Agnes Jemima is almost 13 when she learns her real mother was a runaway handmaid. Rather than marry, Agnes Jemima becomes an aunt-in-training. Sixteen-year-old Daisy in Toronto discovers she is the daughter of a runaway handmaid after the people she thought were her parents die in an explosion. Aunt Lydia brings the girls together under her tutelage, then sends them off to try to escape with Gilead's secrets. Since publication, The Handmaid's Tale has appeared as a movie, graphic novel, and popular miniseries. Atwood does not dwell on the franchise or current politics. Instead, she explores favorite themes of sisterhood, options for the disempowered, and freedom's irresistible draw. Atwood's eminently rewarding sequel revels in the energy of youth, the shrewdness of old age, and the vulnerabilities of repressive regimes.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Riveting, page turner, amazing!!! I was truly upset when I finished this book because I didn’t want the story to end.
To Margaret Atwood
Thank you for answering the questions we have all had for years about the fall of Gilead and the fate of the original Handmaid not answered in the end of the first book. I almost wish it had taken you two books to wrap things up as neatly, surprisingly, and wonderfully as you did. Thank you for another great and thought provoking read!
This is an excellent book which helps flesh out some of the more visible parts of Gileadan society from the original book and in the also excellent TV series. But there is so much more to Gilead and its universe that could be examined and used as a mirror or warning to our world. Imagine books describing the lives of the Econofamilies, the events that led to the Colonies and their subsequent cleanup efforts, the foreign relations and trade of Gilead with its neighbors, or the geopolitcs of the world that Gilead exists in and appears to be at war with. This book really just whetted my appetite for more books from the original author and I really hope that she continues this chilling examination of a deeply flawed but entirely believable fictional theocracy.