Friday, April 6, 2012

The Handmaid's Tale

I have just finished reading one of Margaret Atwood's novels, The Handmaid's Tale, and I cannot even express how much I loved this book.

The Handmaid's Tale has gotten so much international recognition and with reason!

The New York Times has acclaimed it as, "A taut thriller, a psychological study, a play on words... A rich and complex book..."

While Globe and Mail has expressed that it is, "Imaginative, even audacious, and conveys a chilling sense of fear and menace..." And it is true, I couldn't help but get the shivers while reading this novel. I was scared that something or someone would pop out from under my bed. Even though this novel had nothing to do with monsters... At least not the kind of monsters you're thinking of right now.

 What I loved about this novel is that Atwood takes us on a journey to a future setting where we see that a lot of today's present values taken into consideration. For instance, the use of religion to justify political choices, as well as the divide between genders; where men are superior to women (we may not see a lot of that in the Western world at the moment, but it still occurs in the Arab world) which I found interesting as the setting in this novel takes place in a "Western society," where feminism does not apply. Of course, there's a lot more to it than just that.

I must admit, at first, the novel was quite confusing, but once you continue on, you start to relate to a lot of the things in the story, which is why I think this novel is aimed more towards women.

Also, I loved the author's way of describing certain emotions. It's the kind of emotions you've thought about but never quite were able to translate into words or write down on paper. Or even the kind that you questioned.

For instance, here is an excerpt from the book where the narrator is explaining her thoughts on falling in love:

"Falling in love, we said; I fell for him. We were falling women. We believed in it, this downward motion: so lovely, like flying, and yet at the same time so dire, so extreme, so unlikely."

That's just a minor example, and you will only understand this excerpt and how powerful the metaphors behind it are once you are reading the novel for yourselves, and it definitely doesn't do the whole book nor the author's writing any justice at all.

The Handmaid's Tale is going down in my list of favourite books of all time. Margaret Atwood is a one of a kind writer and I can't wait to start reading her other novels! (As soon as I get the time as final exams are coming up)

P.S. Sorry about all the post-it notes in the picture, I tend to jot stuff down on pages which I find have interesting quotations.

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