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Tag / Margaret Atwood

New Life for a Beloved Classic

When Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1985, it was an immediate and visceral success. Thirty-two years later, the novel is even more terrifying and socially relevant today.

Set in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian theocracy that has overthrown the United States government, The Handmaid's Tale follows the story of Offred - a woman that is prized for her fertility in the same way horsebreeders value a winning horse. Offred is a Handmaid, a woman in indentured servitude to the Commander. She has one purpose only - to bear his healthy children (not as easy as one may think in this near future dystopia) and then to be assigned to her next household. But Offred is not a horse. she is a woman; she can remember a time before Gilead, her husband and young daughter, and perhaps more dangerously...she remembers her own name.

The Handmaid's Tale is a story of survival in the face of oppression, and the strength of the human condition despite all attempts to break it down. Readers today will no doubt identify just as strongly with Offred's plight as they did when the novel was first published. This is a must-read for any fan of thrilling dystopia, or someone just looking to remind themselves why our lives today are so precariously wonderful.

The Handmaid's Tale has just been adapted into a critically acclaimed HBO television series, but as always, there's nothing better than the book!

QBD Reviews: Oryx And Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx And Crake is unlike anything I have ever read. I'm honestly at a loss for words on how to even begin blogging about this title, but here goes:

Imagine our world in about 50-100 years time, if no-one cared enough to fight for it. Dozens upon dozens of extinct species, fresh food is almost just a memory, and genetic engineering has reached horrifying new heights (or should that be 'lows'?).

Now imagine this same world, but one generation older again. The world is empty of people, except for Snowman (known as Jimmy before the plague) and the innocent, perfectly-designed new humans known as The Children of Crake.

What on earth happened in those 30 years?

oryx-and-crakeThis is the story of Snowman, last surviving human, living his days in the wilderness amongst the now-feral genetically engineered animals and too-perfect Children of Crake. This is also the story of Jimmy, his childhood raised by a distant mother and scientist father, his obsessive love with the mysteriously enticing Oryx, and his continuous friendship with the brilliant and enigmatic Crake.

Atwood is able to flick between these two storylines with ease, and teases the reader with glimpses of the answers they're searching for, without revealing too much until the final, breathtaking chapters. How did Snowman survive? What happened to Oryx? And what on earth did Crake do??

This book is terrifyingly plausible, and immerses the reader in a world which could very well be waiting for us, but without attempting to preach environmentalism or morality. Oryx and Crake is gripping, horrifying, surprising, and quite frankly the most original story I have read in years. This is definitely one I will be thinking about for a long time to come!