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The testaments / Margaret Atwood ; read by Margaret Atwood, Bryce Dallas Howard, Derek Jacobi, Ann Dowd, Mae Whitman and Tantoo Cardinal.

By: Atwood, Margaret, 1939-.
Contributor(s): Howard, Bryce Dallas, 1981- | Jacobi, Derek | Dowd, Ann | Whitman, Mae, 1988- | Cardinal, Tantoo.
Material type: materialTypeLabelSoundSeries: Atwood, Margaret, Handmaid's tale: 2.Publisher: Tullamarine, Victoria : Bolinda Audio, [2019]Copyright date: ℗2019Edition: Unabridged.Description: 11 audio discs (CD) (13 hr., 18 min.) : digital, stereo ; 12 cm ; in container.ISBN: 9780655617778 :.Subject(s): Man-woman relationships -- Fiction | Misogyny -- Fiction | Women -- Fiction | Science fiction
Contents:
Fiction.
Summary: And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, listeners had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over.
List(s) this item appears in: The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2019
Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due Barcode Item reserves
Default Deer Park Library
Talking Book CD ATWO In transit from Deer Park Library to Keilor Library since 18/11/2019 IA2015435 1
Total reserves: 1

Fiction.

And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, listeners had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Adult.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

1 | The Ardua Hall Holograph Only dead people are allowed to have statues, but I have been given one while still alive. Already I am petrified. This statue was a small token of appreciation for my many contributions, said the citation, which was read out by Aunt Vidala. She'd been assigned the task by our superiors, and was far from appreciative. I thanked her with as much modesty as I could summon, then pulled the rope that released the cloth drape shrouding me; it billowed to the ground, and there I stood. We don't do cheering here at Ardua Hall, but there was some discreet clapping. I inclined my head in a nod. My statue is larger than life, as statues tend to be, and shows me as younger, slimmer, and in better shape than I've been for some time. I am standing straight, shoulders back, my lips curved into a firm but benevolent smile. My eyes are fixed on some cosmic point of reference understood to represent my idealism, my unflinching commitment to duty, my determination to move forward despite all obstacles. Not that anything in the sky would be visible to my statue, placed as it is in a morose cluster of trees and shrubs beside the footpath running in front of Ardua Hall. We Aunts must not be too presumptuous, even in stone. Clutching my left hand is a girl of seven or eight, gazing up at me with trusting eyes. My right hand rests on the head of a woman crouched at my side, her hair veiled, her eyes upturned in an expression that could be read as either craven or grateful--one of our Handmaids--and behind me is one of my Pearl Girls, ready to set out on her missionary work. Hanging from a belt around my waist is my Taser. This weapon reminds me of my failings: had I been more effective, I would not have needed such an implement. The persuasion in my voice would have been enough. As a group of statuary it's not a great success: too crowded. I would have preferred more emphasis on myself. But at least I look sane. It could well have been otherwise, as the elderly sculptress--a true believer since deceased--had a tendency to confer bulging eyes on her subjects as a sign of their pious fervour. Her bust of Aunt Helena looks rabid, that of Aunt Vidala is hyperthyroid, and that of Aunt Elizabeth appears ready to explode. At the unveiling the sculptress was nervous. Was her renditionof me sufficiently flattering? Did I approve of it? Would I be seen toapprove? I toyed with the idea of frowning as the sheet came off, butthought better of it: I am not without compassion. "Very lifelike," Isaid. That was nine years ago. Since then my statue has weathered:pigeons have decorated me, moss has sprouted in my damper crevices.Votaries have taken to leaving offerings at my feet: eggs forfertility, oranges to suggest the fullness of pregnancy, croissants toreference the moon. I ignore the breadstuffs--usuallythey havebeen rained on--butpocket the oranges. Oranges are so refreshing. * * * I write these words in my private sanctum within the library of Ardua Hall--one of the few libraries remaining after the enthusiastic book-burnings that have been going on across our land. The corrupt and blood-smeared fingerprints of the past must be wiped away to create a clean space for the morally pure generation that is surely about to arrive. Such is the theory. But among these bloody fingerprints are those made by ourselves, and these can't be wiped away so easily. Over the years I've buried a lot of bones; now I'm inclined to dig them up again--if only for your edification, my unknown reader. If you are reading, this manuscript at least will have survived. Though perhaps I'm fantasizing: perhaps I will never have a reader. Perhaps I'll only be talking to the wall, in more ways than one. That's enough inscribing for today. My hand hurts, my back aches, and my nightly cup of hot milk awaits me. I'll stash this screed in its hiding place, avoiding the surveillance cameras--I know where they are, having placed them myself. Despite such precautions, I'm aware of the risk I'm running: writing can be dangerous. What betrayals, and then what denunciations, might lie in store for me? There are several within Ardua Hall who would love to get their hands on these pages. Wait, I counsel them silently: it will get worse. Excerpted from The Testaments: A Novel by Margaret Atwood All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Thirty-four years ago, Atwood astounded readers with Offred's gripping, claustrophobic perspective of life in Gilead, the totalitarian theocracy which was formerly the United States. In her new novel, set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, she employs three female characters to present a broader, but equally gripping, view of this twisted, fertility-centered dystopia. Ann Dowd is spellbinding as the voice of Aunt Lydia, the same character she portrays on Hulu's adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. The deliberate pace at which she relates Aunt Lydia's diary entries builds incredible suspense; listeners slowly come to see a full portrait of arguably the most powerful woman in Gilead, a woman whose inner thoughts were mostly unknowable from Offred's outside perspective. Bryce Dallas Howard is charming as Agnes, whose extremely restricted life as a young girl from a privileged Gileadean household is described in Transcript of Witness Testimony 369A. Transcript of Witness Testimony 369B, spunkily relayed by Mae Whitman, describes the life of Daisy, a Canadian teenager living with curiously overprotective parents who run a secondhand clothing store and have ties to Mayday, the resistance group trying to overthrow Gilead. The multi-voiced narration is a perfect match for the story: listeners will be absolutely captivated by the alternating, extraordinarily different lives depicted in the three "testaments" and, by the time the characters bravely unite near the novel's climax, listeners will likely wish to play the recording at double speed. VERDICT In addition to the fact that current events have inspired women at protest marches to don Handmaids' costumes and carry signs that say "Make Margaret Atwood fiction again," this sublime novel and audio experience belongs in all collections.--Beth Farrell, Cleveland State Univ. Law Lib.

Publishers Weekly Review

Atwood's confident, magnetic sequel to The Handmaid's Tale details the beginning of the end for Gilead, the authoritarian religion-touting dystopia where fertile single women (handmaids) live in sexual servitude. The novel opens in New England 15 years after the first novel ends. Aunt Lydia has become a renowned educator, an ally of Gilead's spy chief, and an archivist for Gilead's secrets. Ensconced in her library, Aunt Lydia recalls how she went from prisoner to collaborator during Gilead's early days. Now she is old and dying and ready for revenge. Her plan involves two teenagers. Gilead native Agnes Jemima is almost 13 when she learns her real mother was a runaway handmaid. Rather than marry, Agnes Jemima becomes an aunt-in-training. Sixteen-year-old Daisy in Toronto discovers she is the daughter of a runaway handmaid after the people she thought were her parents die in an explosion. Aunt Lydia brings the girls together under her tutelage, then sends them off to try to escape with Gilead's secrets. Since publication, The Handmaid's Tale has appeared as a movie, graphic novel, and popular miniseries. Atwood does not dwell on the franchise or current politics. Instead, she explores favorite themes of sisterhood, options for the disempowered, and freedom's irresistible draw. Atwood's eminently rewarding sequel revels in the energy of youth, the shrewdness of old age, and the vulnerabilities of repressive regimes. (Sept.)

Booklist Review

The Handmaid's Tale (1985) is a prisoner's memoir written in shock, despair, and longing by a woman who has been hijacked from her life and enslaved in a tyrannical theocracy on a poisoned planet where human fertility is imperiled. Margaret Atwood's concussive and prescient novel remains electrifying and appallingly relevant in the Trump era, both on the page and in its Emmy-winning television adaptation. In her avidly awaited sequel, Atwood returns to Gilead, 15 years after the Handmaid called Offred recorded her indelible experiences. Readers will again enter a dystopia of eerie orderliness as women under ruthless surveillance, their social status indicated by cumbersome, color-coded uniforms, are forced into dehumanizing rituals of sex and punishment. One key character returns, the formidable Aunt Lydia. But in this very different novel, three women tell their stories, the lens widens so that Gilead is seen from the outside, and the focus is not only on men oppressing women, but also on women wielding power. The result is a shrewdly suspenseful tale of survival and resistance. And Atwood's wit is phosphorescent.In Gilead, a university's libraries have been claimed by the elite for their headquarters, and deep in her inner sanctum among the Forbidden World Literature collection Aunt Lydia risks all to write her testament. We learn that she emerged from an abusive childhood to become a family judge until she and all other professional women were rounded up and taken to a stadium-turned-concentration-camp in some of the novel's most harrowing scenes. Aunt Lydia's tenacity and Machiavellianism ultimately serve her well as the self-described alpha hen among the Aunts charged with intimidating and indoctrinating young women. Because the men don't want to be bothered with the petty details of the female sphere, as she sardonically explains, Aunt Lydia becomes a force unto herself.Two young women provide the other testaments. Agnes, the daughter of a prominent Commander in Gilead, is about to be forced by her conniving stepmother into an arranged marriage at age 13. Daisy, 16, has grown up in Canada, where she has participated in demonstrations against Gilead. Why and how these three converge propels the high-velocity plot and its dramatic and daring missions and quests. And what a great gust of fresh air a teenager's sarcastic irreverence is. Throughout Atwood's extraordinarily creative, brilliantly grounded, mordantly funny, and eviscerating oeuvre women are portrayed as complex, diabolical, fiery, and competitive. Warriors for good and ill. Finding that subversive female energy flowing molten beneath the surface of chilling Gilead is positively therapeutic.For all the wrenching violence and heart-pounding action in The Testaments, which is written in the mode of Atwood's astutely speculative MaddAddam trilogy Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood (2009), Maddaddam (2013) it is the droll and righteous commentary that sets this novel alight. Both Gilead novels face head-on the horrors of tyranny and find some glimmer of hope in the redemptive act of bearing witness, a courageous expression of dissent and declaration of freedom in all its hectic and essential splendor.--Donna Seaman Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

Atwood goes back to Gilead.The Handmaid's Tale (1985), consistently regarded as a masterpiece of 20th-century literature, has gained new attention in recent years with the success of the Hulu series as well as fresh appreciation from readers who feel like this story has new relevance in America's current political climate. Atwood herself has spoken about how news headlines have made her dystopian fiction seem eerily plausible, and it's not difficult to imagine her wanting to revisit Gilead as the TV show has sped past where her narrative ended. Like the novel that preceded it, this sequel is presented as found documentsfirst-person accounts of life inside a misogynistic theocracy from three informants. There is Agnes Jemima, a girl who rejects the marriage her family arranges for her but still has faith in God and Gilead. There's Daisy, who learns on her 16th birthday that her whole life has been a lie. And there's Aunt Lydia, the woman responsible for turning women into Handmaids. This approach gives readers insight into different aspects of life inside and outside Gilead, but it also leads to a book that sometimes feels overstuffed. The Handmaid's Tale combined exquisite lyricism with a powerful sense of urgency, as if a thoughtful, perceptive woman was racing against time to give witness to her experience. That narrator hinted at more than she said; Atwood seemed to trust readers to fill in the gaps. This dynamic created an atmosphere of intimacy. However curious we might be about Gilead and the resistance operating outside that country, what we learn here is that what Atwood left unsaid in the first novel generated more horror and outrage than explicit detail can. And the more we get to know Agnes, Daisy, and Aunt Lydia, the less convincing they become. It's hard, of course, to compete with a beloved classic, so maybe the best way to read this new book is to forget about The Handmaid's Tale and enjoy it as an artful feminist thriller.Suspenseful, full of incident, and not obviously necessary. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

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