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Set in a frightening America of the near future where women--categorized in terms of whether or not they are able to bear children--function only in the strictly defined roles assigned to them by men. It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out once a day to the food market, she is not permitted to read, and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant, because she is only valued if her ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. But all of that is gone now...everything has changed.
"A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex. . . . Just as the world of Orwell's 1984 gripped our imaginations, so will the world of Atwood's handmaid!" —The Washington Post Book World
"The Handmaid's Tale deserves the highest praise" —San Francisco Chronicle
"Atwood takes many trends which exist today and stretches them to their logical and chilling conclusions. . . . An excellent novel about the directions our lives are taking. . . . Read it while it's still allowed." —Houston Chronicle