May 23, 2006

The Handmaid’s Tale

There’s a grand tradition of dystopian novels: Nineteen Eighty-Four, Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World et al.

1984, for me, is, and always will be, the defining novel for the genre. But Margaret Atwood’s A Handmaid’s Tale is a close second.

It’s quite close to 1984 if you think about it. It’s got many of the same elements: a screwed-up society, mass brainwashing (religion in this case), perverse sexuality, and most importantly, they both freaked me out.

Both books set up systems in which the victims themselves willingly bring about their own downfall. That’s scary as hell. Still, The Handmaid’s Tale at least ends in an optimistic note. 1984 won’t even give you that.

The Handmaid’s Tale is considered to be a feminist novel. I don’t disagree, but I think it’s more than that.

I picked it secondhand, in the middle of my ongoing exams. Read it in one day, the next subject be damned.

The other book I bought on the same day was Baudolino. Umberto Eco. Can’t really not buy one of his books once I see it.

Oh, and placed an order online for the first three books of the Song of Ice and Fire series. At Indiatimes. Lets see how this site performs…

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