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The first thing you need to know is that I loved The Testaments, even though I did not particularly like The Handmaid’s Tale as a book.
My first exposure to Atwood’s dystopian reality was through the TV series. The visual imagery of the rituals was so chilling in the series. It hooked me immediately and left a permanent imprint. By contrast, the book it was based on felt much less intense.
I postponed reading The Testaments because of my mediocre opinion of The Handmaid’s Tale. But it kept receiving great reviews and won the coveted Goodreads Choice 2019 award for fiction. I needed a book for a specific prompt in the Goodread’s Around the Year in 52 Weeks Challenge, so I opted to listen to the Audible version during a recent road trip.
I am so glad I did. Oh my, I loved this book and it was a fun one to listen to in one long session.
I won’t give away any spoilers here, except to say that much of this story revolves around Aunt Lydia. What made the Audible book so much fun to list to is that the Aunt Lydia narration is performed by Ann Dowd, the actor who plays her on the TV show. Is there a creepier character than Aunt Lydia anywhere? Not for me. Just hearing her voice was all I needed to be completely hooked.The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
Published by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday on 2019
Genres: Political fiction, Dystopian fiction, Fiction, Dystopian
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Bookshop
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be read on its own or as a companion to Margaret Atwood's classic, The Handmaid's Tale.
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.
With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
If you enjoy dystopian fiction, you may enjoy the following series as well. If you have any favorite dystopian fiction to recommend please leave it in the comments. It is one of my favorite genres and I am always on the lookout for new books to read.
The Chronicles of One series by Nora Roberts
The Broken Earth series by N.K. Jemisin
This is my all-time favorite and winner of an unprecedented THREE Hugo awards (one for each book):