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  • Published: 3 October 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784871444
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $24.00

The Handmaid's Tale

This is a book to read when young - a compulsive, fierce and terrifying novel that you will not forget

'It isn't running away they're afraid of. We wouldn't get far. It's those other escapes, the ones you can open in yourself, given a cutting edge'

Offred is a Handmaid. She has only one function: to breed. If she refuses to play her part she will, like all dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. She may walk daily to the market and utter demure words to other Handmaid's, but her role is fixed, her freedom a forgotten concept.

Offred remembers her old life - love, family, a job, access to the news. It has all been taken away. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire.

Includes exclusive content: In The 'Backstory' you can read Margaret Atwood's account of how she came to write this landmark dystopian novel

'Compulsively readable' Daily Telegraph

  • Pub date: 3 October 2016
  • ISBN: 9781784871444
  • Imprint: Vintage Children's Classics
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 512
  • RRP: $24.00

About the Author

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam Trilogy. Her 1985 classic The Handmaid's Tale went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against him; and the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Sales of the English language edition have now topped 8 million copies worldwide.

Atwood has won numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Praise for The Handmaid's Tale

“Compulsively readable”

Daily Telegraph

“A fantastic, chilling story. And so powerfully feminist”

Bernadine Evaristo, author of GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER

“Out of a narrative shadowed by terror, gleam sharp perceptions, brilliant intense images and sardonic wit”

Peter Kemp, Independent

“The Handmaid's Tale is both a superlative exercise in science fiction and a profoundly felt moral story”

Angela Carter

“Moving, vivid and terrifying. I only hope it's not prophetic”

Conor Cruise O'Brien, The Listener

“The images of brilliant emptiness are one of the most striking aspects of this novel about totalitarian blindness...the effect is chilling”

Linda Taylor, Sunday Times


Robert Irwin, Time Out

“It's hard to believe it is 25 years since it was first published, but its freshness, its anger and its disciplined, taut prose have grown more admirable in the intervening years... Atwood's novel was an ingenious enterprise that showed, with out hysteria, the real dangers to women of closing their eyes to patriarchal”

Lesley McDowell, Independent on Sunday

“Turned 25 this year and...worth re-reading. As you grow, such books grow with you”

Erica Wagner, The Times, Christmas round up

“Fiercely political and bleak, yet witting and wise...this novel seems ever more vital in the present day”


“The mother of all feminist dystopian novels.”

Sarra Manning, Red

“The novel satirises the strain of evangelical puritanism in American culture and the objectification and control of women’s bodies. It is more broadly a contemporary myth of despotic power, and how such power deforms those who are subjected to it.”

Tim Adams, Observer

“One of Atwood’s finest pieces of work serves as a great reminder of what humanity is capable of.”

Hannah Dunn, Red

“Margaret Atwood is a wry and perceptive observer of society as well as an original storyteller”

Cecilia Heyes, Psychologist

“Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood’s devastating irony, wit and astute perception”


“This is a novel pervaded by violence, sex, terror, but also by contemplation, analysis and – occasionally – by hope… Atwood shockingly reveals what we could be capable of.”

Elly McCausland, Cherwell Newspaper

Discover More

Elisabeth Moss, star of the hit TV show The Handmaid’s Tale, has narrated the audiobook edition of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel.

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