The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid's Tale

In this dystopian novel, Offred is a handmaid serving the family of the Commander. She's allowed out just once a day and her only hope is to become pregnant with the Commander's child. It wasn't always this way: Offred was once a free woman with a job and a family of her own. Intensely haunting, The Handmaid's Tale is one of Margaret Atwood's most iconic works, and has been adapted into a film, a stage play, an opera and even a ballet.

The Handmaid's Tale received many accolades when it was first published, winning the 1985 Governor General's Award for fiction. It was also a finalist in the inaugural edition of Canada Reads in 2002. It was defended by Kim Campbell.



"What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, crisscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be."

From The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood ©1985. Published by McClelland & Stewart.