The Bottom Line: A must-read for any fan of The Handmaid’s Tale. One of the year’s best thrillers.
Between Hulu’s acclaimed series and the original film version starring Natasha Richardson, there are undoubtedly more fans of The Handmaid’s Tale than its original author, Margaret Atwood. But as anyone who has read Atwood’s 1985 novel knows, the book is a masterpiece.
In a move that must be the envy of George R.R. Martin, whose Game of Thrones book series came to a screeching halt just as its televised version began, Atwood has seized the moment and published a timely, brilliant sequel more than 30 years after the original.
The book begins 15 year after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale. If you’re expecting a continuation of the same character stories as the original, you’ll be disappointed, but do read on. The theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead still holds its grip on power, but cracks are appearing. 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. The plights of the three women are told from differing points of view, which requires a bit of patience, but the pay off – in Atwood’s capable hands – is extremely satisfying.