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The Handmaid's Tale is a science fiction novel, set in a dystopian future where the United States of America has fallen into a military dictatorship called the Republic of Gilead.
Summary of the Book
When a terrorist attack on the United States leaves its President and most of its Congress dead, a group of revolutionaries take matters into their own hands. They call themselves the Sons of Jacob, and they suspend the US Constitution in a mad attempt to seize control as they form the Republic of Gilead. With a chauvinistic drive, they take away all the women's rights and begin to reorganize society. In this new regime, a class of women are separated and used as concubines. They are called handmaids, and their sole purpose is to procreate, a dark remedy the Sons of Jacob choose to fend off the threat of sterility. Offred is one such woman, her name itself a melancholy reminder that she is the handmaid of Fred the Commander. Despite regulations which dictate that Fred must only make love to Offred during the "Ceremony", where his wife Serena is also present, he begins an illicit relationship with her. In a desperate attempt to get her pregnant, Serena uses her supposed knowledge of Offred's surviving family - the daughter she lost while trying to escape Gilead - to force her to sleep with her driver Nick. Offred begins to have feelings for Nick, and this soon sets her on a path towards what could either be her freedom or her complete destruction.
About Margaret Atwood
Margaret Atwood is a Canadian novelist, poetess, literary critic and essayist. She is best known for her novels, including The Edible Woman, The Robber Bride, The Penelopiad, The Year of the Flood and Cat's Eye.
Atwood is a celebrated writer and is the recipient of several notable awards, including the 2000 Man Booker Prize, the Governor General's Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke Award for best Science Fiction.