The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood [These notes were made in 1987:]. I find it less surprising that my brother and father found this book unsympathetic than that my sister did so. It is a very feminist opus. It also contains some very lyrical passages which, I suppose, in the wrong mood one could find pretentious. I was in the right mood. The epilogue, which takes the mickey out of academics, is no more than we deserve. Plot? "Offred" is a scarlet woman in a new post-revolutionary USA, where the religious right-wingers are in control. In order to save her skin, she has become an official child-bearer to the elite. She does not know the fate of her husband or her daughter. Already partway adjusted to the new life by the time we meet her, she nonetheless cannot stop remembering the old life of the eighties, and she is eventually driven to a sexual affair with a chauffeur and a sort of semi-romantic entanglement with "fred", whose duty it is to impregnate her. Both of these things are illicit. Eventually, she is taken away in a black van, but whether by the secret police or by the underground "femaleroad" with which she is in contact, we do not find out. I found the whole thing quite compelling.