Many NextTribers have expressed their love for Margaret Atwood, her dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale — and the Emmy-winning streaming series based on it that airs on Hulu. Her follow-up, The Testaments, was released on September 10th. Atwood decided to write the new book due to her audience’s interest, especially in this era when women’s rights seem so deeply threatened.
Once again, readers are transported to Gilead. To provide a taste of the novel, here’s a bit of the plot: The story picks up more than 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tale ends, and the despicable regime of the Republic of Gilead wields its might, though there are signs of turmoil. Three women are at the center of the action; two are part of the first generation to grow up in the new order, and the third is one who specializes in gathering secrets and using them to gain power. Each faces challenges to determine her path forward.
Back to Gilead
Within two days of the release of The Testaments, it achieved over 125,000 sales of combined print, audio, and e-book editions, which is the hottest seller for its publisher (America’s largest), Penguin Random House. (The Handmaid’s Tale, which debuted in 1985, has passed the 1 million sales mark.) The reviews have been extremely positive, with The New York Times saying it’s “a fast, immersive narrative that’s as propulsive as it is melodramatic,” and Slate adding, “A rare treat … a corker of a plot, culminating in a breathless flight.” One Amazon reviewer says to expect a white-knuckle reader: “If you expected a ’happily ever after’ story about ’Offred’ that isn’t this book.” With tension and pacing like that, perhaps it’s no wonder the book has already sparked interest as a potential series.
It’s an excellent and relevant fall read — you can order it here.