Like George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel “1984,” Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” — a chilling novel about a society called Gilead that takes repression of women to new and terrifying levels — has found new life. Earlier this year the story of the “handmaiden” Offred popped up at the top of Amazon’s bestseller list, due to fears of the new White House administration or interest in the new Hulu series starring Elisabeth Moss — or possibly both.
Now, Audible.com’s jumping on the bandwagon with an updated version read by actress Claire Danes that includes original material written by Atwood. There’s also a new afterword from the author and an essay about the book by Valerie Martin.
The new part of the story takes place after the novel’s final line “Are there any questions?” spoken at a symposium on Gileadian studies in 2195, after the events of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” Atwood adds the questions the audience might ask. You can hear a clip here.
“I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over thirty years ago come alive on new platforms every year,” Atwood said in a statement. “The roots of my original book are in audio — Offred’s story was recorded, not written. ... so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard.”
Not a member of Audible? You can try a 30-day membership trial, enough to get you through one book. This could be the one, if you were so inclined.