The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2)by Published 10 Sep 2019
|The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2).pdf|
|Publisher||Nan A. Talese|
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 voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she 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.
"Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in."
The Testaments (The Handmaid's Tale, #2) Reviews
Edit (2): OMG! I just noticed the girl stretching (?) In the ladies cloak
EDit: WE HAVE A COVER (?) I don't really understand. it's like the same cover as book one
OH MY GOSH! I'M SO EXCITED. but I need to know... Which dum-dum gave this a low rating?
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“The Testaments” opens in Gilead about 15 years after “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but it’s an entirely different novel in form and tone. Inevitably, the details are less shocking — at least in part because the horrors of Gilead’s male-centered theocracy are already so well known. When Offred first told her “sad and mutilated story,” we were hearing about the hangings, the Unbabies and the Sons of Jacob for the first time. But by now, Gildead’s breeding Ceremony is a creepy cultural touchstone.
Atwood responds to the challenge of that familiarity by giving us the narrator we least expect: Aunt Lydia. It’s a brilliant strategic move that turns the world of Gilead inside out. In “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Aunt Lydia is the orthodox teacher whose platitudes and instructions cycle through Offred’s mind. But in “The Testaments,” Aunt Lydia speaks directly to us in all her conflicted complexity. She has become the supreme matriarch of this masculine cult. “I control the women’s side of their enterprise with an iron fist in a leather glove in a woollen mitten,” she says. “And I keep things orderly: like a harem eunuch.” As a living legend, the very model of moral perfection and feminine wisdom, she enjoys a special position of extraordinary power — and she knows just how. . . .
To read the rest of this review, go to The Washington Post:
So I just found out about this, Margaret Atwood revealed it via twitter yesterday. I even had to create the book data myself on goodreads so I could write this update. I really did not see this coming. (did anyone?)
I'm excited and surprised. The Handmaid's Tale felt like such a closed book, so it will be real interesting to see where this one goes. I wonder if she decided to write this after the success of the television adaptation or the show was made because this book was being written.
Either way, I can't wait to read it.
It's set 15 years after the first book (which was published 33 years ago) and it has 3 female narrators. I hope it carries with it the same depth and power as the first one. So I will be reading and reviewing this one come September. It's certainly a release not to be missed!
Return to Gilead
Check your expectations at the door: The Testaments is a highly entertaining page turner, but it is probably quite different from whatever you were anticipating.
It differs from its 1985 antecedent, The Handmaid's Tale, in tone, voice and literary heft. That earlier book had a power and a gravitas that is not recaptured here. For me the most striking thing about The Handmaid’s Tale has always been Atwood’s choice of narrator. Offred (in the book she has no other name) is so confined by her circumstances; her isolation is claustrophobic. She is essentially passive, keeping her head down and daring to aim only for survival, while other characters have more agency (Moira and Ofglen both find proactive ways to thwart the Gilead regime, either would have been a more natural choice for a protagonist). Offred is an Everywoman – with her passivity she confronts the reader: Well, what would you do in my place? And don't kid yourself. It's bleak, but the novel's power is in its intimate portrait of powerlessness.
The Testaments is more action-driven, more hopeful, and by extension, less realistic. We follow three characters who are prepared to buck the system, to risk everything to crush the patriarchy. That two of them are teenagers feeds the sense of buoyancy, you get the feeling that Atwood too thinks the kids are gonna save us.
The shift in tone will be familiar to viewers of Hulu's TV series — perhaps both Atwood and the showrunners 'read the room' and recognised that the catharsis of a feelgood fightback is what we crave and need most right now. If the idea of a book set in Gilead being entertaining — even fun — dismays you, best skip this one.
Indeed The Testaments, rather shrewdly on Atwood's part, functions as a sequel to both the first book AND the TV adaptation — deftly combining elements from each, while avoiding the show's most glaring faults (eg its over-reliance on a single character, and tendency to get bogged down plot-wise).
This novel isn't flawless either. One of the narrative voices is by far more compelling than the others (no prizes for guessing that it's the mature, morally compromised Aunt Lydia, not one of the idealistic teenagers). It's a little too TV-ready in the way the characters intersect. Certain plot twists are loudly telegraphed and the narratives don't always jive with the historical documents they purport to be. And my eyes rolled more than once (Underground Femaleroad, really?).
Still there's much to enjoy. The conniving duplicity and monstrous ambivalence of Aunt Lydia makes for thrilling reading. Atwood's prose and story-spinning have lost none of their magic, and for an 80 year old she writes teenage voices surprisingly well! Most importantly, it's compulsively readable.
The Testaments is unlikely to become a perennially relevant classic like its predecessor, and it's unreasonable to expect that kind of greatness from it. As an expansion of the Gilead mythos though, it more than satisfies.
this is the most unexpected thing of 2019 so far