Originally published in 1985, 'The Handmaid's Tale' is the definition of dystopian literature. 'The Handmaid's Tale' takes place in what remains of near-future United States and is told in the first-person by Offred. Her name literally means of-Fred - women are named for the men who own them. These women serve as "handmaids" for military men and their infertile wives, existing only as maids and fertile wombs. Offred was selected as a handmaid for her proven ability to reproduce - before the events which brought about this dystopia Offred had a daughter. This is seen in periodic flashbacks throughout the text.
Offred tells her story in subdued language with little embellishment or emotion which sharply contrasts the horrifying tale of murder, rape and indoctrinated sexual submission.
It's a thought-provoking tale and a very enjoyable read, told in a clever manner with just enough mysteries left unsolved that you'll be mulling the book over long after you finish reading it. 'The Handmaid's Tale' is currently being released as a television series, so be sure to pick up the book and experience it as it was first written - it's a read you won't forget.
- Caitlin, QBD West Lakes