Tuesday, December 31, 1985

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale: Published in 1985

Updated 7/6/2020.

The Handmaid’s Tale

Margaret Atwood

First Publication: 1985

Category: dystopian novel

Sales: ?


About the Book:

The Handmaid's Tale is a novel of such power that the reader will be unable to forget its images and its forecast. Set in the near future, it describes life in what was once the United States and is now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.” AZ

“The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order.” AZ She works “in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.” BN

“In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment’s calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions. The Handmaid’s Tale is funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and a tour de force. It is Margaret Atwood at her best.” AZ

Resources and Related Links:

In July 2018, I became the organizer of the Classic Novels Book Club. Check out the Book Club tab here or Meetup for more information. This is our September 2019 book.

Friday, December 20, 1985

Perry's Wall

a short story written during my freshman year in college

His glassy eyes stared at the electrical socket on the closest, otherwise blank wall. He rocked slowly and chomped rhythmically at this gum, occasionally blowing a bubble. His mind was void of any thought and he was psychologically blind to any stimulus not immediately in his path.

His trance was abruptly interrupted by a long, slow buzz that filled his head, rattling his eardrums. At first he just continued rocking and chomping, but the buzz continued until it snapped him into reality. He eased out of his chair and sauntered to the door. He grasped the doorknob and stood silently for a moment. With his free hand he stroked his mouth and chin as if to pull the solemn look from his face. He forced a smile and tugged the door open.

“Cliff! How’s it going? What are you doing back in Philly?”

“Perry! Things are wonderful – I’m back for a week visiting Mom and Dad and I decided to look you up. I just got a promotion!”

Small talk turned to burning the midnight oil. At the evening’s close, Perry waved goodbye, watching as Cliff drove out of sight. The smile escaped Perry’s face, he wandered back inside, and he resumed his place in the rocking chair, staring blindly at the electrical socket once again.

Monday, September 30, 1985

Letters I've Written

excerpt from a letter written during my college freshman year

What a person does and what he is may not be the same. People really aren't that different, just the things they do.