In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.
When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her–freedom, prison or death.
With The Testaments, the wait is over.
Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story more than fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” –Margaret Atwood
Disclaimer: I received a physical ARC of the book from Penguin India in exchange for an honest review! However, the thoughts, opinions expressed in the review are entirely my own.
The Testaments is a book long sought after; the most anticipated sequel to one of the most revered books – The Handmaid’s Tale – but it also begs the question that most readers would ask themselves – did we actually need the sequel?
Wait let me backspace a bit here – The Testaments is told in multiple voices; most profound of which is Aunt Lydia’s rise in her ranks to finally occupy one of the most influential places in Ardua Hall, and as a result, Gilead. The journey told in her own voice, should be considered by the future generations (and the readers, of course) as a treasure to understand the exact sacrifices she has made to uphold the traditions of the Aunts.
This “treasure” is of course accompanied with testimonies, narrated by two girls; Agnes and Daisy, who also have the burden of purifying Gilead. Thus, this sequel bring to light, everything about Gilead, when I say everything, I do mean everything, from the abuse of women that is absolutely systematic in nature, enough so that it is easy to see how they become ‘used’ to the whole subjugation without one voice clamouring to be heard. The exploitation of position and power by the Commanders is also easy to make comparisons of the current world scenario and a little bit of contrast to the life outside Gilead as well.
For someone who actually struggled through reading The Handmaid’s Tale (I understood the basic tenements of the plot, but I did struggle through the confining and intensity of the writing of Atwood) – but the writing I encountered within the pages of this book were more simplistic in nature and rather easier to understand and grasp – which translates to Atwood’s fans as something that is more superficial in nature; and honestly, it is one that would appeal more to the readers who prefer to read and drop rather than read and reflect.
So, coming back to my original question at the start of the review – do we, as readers really need sequels for books that are more than capable of being complete unto themselves?
This is the question that ended up on my mind, throughout the time I spent reading this particular sequel – and trust me, when I tell you; I think it’s high time we as realise that we need to think before clamouring for sequel – we need to realise the significance of EXACTLY what and why we require or need a particular sequel to a already complete and brilliant books *sighs*