The Handmaid’s Tale – a subtle, powerful and immersive read. A book that I regretfully only read after friends shared their excitement for the 2017 TV series adaptation with Elizabeth Moss. After Moss’s performance in ‘On Top of the Lake’ I knew that The Handmaid’s Tale would be on my ‘to watch’ list. I am always a firm believer in trying to read a book prior to seeing it on the big screen so quickly began, along with many of my peers, devouring the book.
The Handmaid’s Tale is our protagonists recorded experience. A well told feminist nightmare, with a reminiscent nod to recent history as well as aspects of today’s society. A terrifying dystopian fiction, a horrific portrait of a world that very believably might or could happen. The future USA, transformed by military coup into a totalitarian theocracy, leaves our protagonist living a life where her fertility is her one societal value.
The Handmaid’s Tale immediately struck a cord with me; there are no wasted words, the tale real, quiet and dark. The details of this disconcerting world are released to the audience slowly, painting through small horrors a coldly brutal portrait of oppression and injustice.
A haunting book that, with drama only moments away, leaves you hanging on every word and emotionally drained. Truly disturbing, The Handmaid’s Tale will have you angry, indignant, revulsed and righteous but never more aware of what it is we must all strive to avoid. By no means an easy read but a book you have to read. It’s a bleak picture riddled with complex nuances, themes and interpretations as well as the most perfectly placed ambiguous open ending.
Now I can watch the screen interpretation of the 1985 book in the new 10 part TV series, sure to have its place and still shock audiences today.