The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
A chilling look of the future under a radical Christian regime. The world is in dire straits because of some kind of war (likely nuclear in nature). The story focuses on Offred (pronounded of-fred), a handmaiden to one the Commanders (higher-ups, all men). We see the current world through the eyes of Offred as she uses the past to escape the present. "Today" is interspersed with how "today" arrived in a very fluid yet eerie way.
I love how smooth the transitions are because so many stories jump around timelines badly. As the timelines converge, the story goes deeper and deeper into a sort of madness that makes the reader want to scream stop, but somehow it seems logical for things to happen this way.
This is not really a hopeful piece of dystopian fiction, much more along the lines of 1984. Unlike the newer dystopian books, this story is much more quietly menacing rather than in your face violent fights. It's still not for the faint-hearted though.
I really enjoyed this story although it's disturbing nature has sapped my ability to read disturbing books for awhile.
Star Rating: 4.0/5.0
For an explanation of the Star Rating go here.
This is one of the books I've read and reviewed for the fantasy mini-challenge. Progress 7/13 books.