The continued relevance of The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood was written more than 25 years ago but it has not lost its relevancy. According to Charlotte Newman, Atwood’s chilling tale of a concubine in an oppressive future America is more vital than ever. Fiercely political and bleak, yet witty and wise, the novel won the inaugural Arthur C Clarke award in 1987, but Atwood has always maintained that the novel is not classifiable science fiction. Nothing practised in the Republic of Gilead is genuinely futuristic. She is right, and this novel seems ever more vital in the present day, where women in many parts of the world live similar lives, dictated by biological determinism and misogyny.

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