The Testaments

The Testaments

Book - 2019
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Set 15 years after events in the Handmaid's tale, the theocratic regime in Gilead is beginning to show signs of rotting from within. At this crucial moment in time, the lives of three women converge. One is from Gilead, the privileged daughter of an important Commander; one is from Canada, where she marches in protests; and one is an enforcer for the regime, a woman whose power comes from secrets. When secrets bring the women together, there are explosive results.
Publisher: New York : Nan A. Talese, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385543781
0385543786
Branch Call Number: F ATW
Characteristics: x, 419 pages ; 25 cm

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sgcf
Mar 21, 2020

It is clear that, in shaping her sequel, Atwood drew on the current Trumpian regime and the #MeToo backlash against patriarchal injustice. I liked that this book was more plot-driven by the three female narrators who recorded events in their journals (their testaments/holographs), that the elder becomes a double agent, and that the other two are young – the new generation rising up. We learn more about Gilead’s history and Canada’s response. Despite the last part seeming rather hurried, here’s a sense of hope, and a sense of the world turning on the same themes.

WCL_Rosie Mar 20, 2020

A satisfying follow-up for those who finished The Handmaid's Tale and weren't quite done with the story. Margaret Atwood not only explores the horrifying creation of the "Aunt" ideology, but also the infiltration of Gilead that leads to it's downfall. Morally compromised Aunt Lydia is an unexpected ally to the two teenage protagonists who fuel most of the action in this sequel.

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siqinp
Mar 07, 2020

This is not literary greatness... Far from it! At best it reads like a young adult fiction, a mild suspense novel. This is the type of sequel that adds nothing significant to the great novel that was The Handmaid's Tale. I really wonder what were Margaret Atwood's motivations when she wrote this? Anyway, be prepared for one-dimensional characters, except perhaps for Aunt Lydia. Also be prepared for a non-sensical story line. Why would someone need a human carrier to transmit secret information abroad when she already had a much safer way to do it? And why would a corrupt dictature collapse because of the revelation of said corruption to the world... I don't see this happening anywhere in the world. All in all, I was extremely disapointed. It would have been better to leave The Handmaid's Tale as a stand alone book. Much better!

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knradach
Mar 07, 2020

I agree the book was a little hokey, and highly predictable. But for someone who likes to have a pretty bow on things, I was interested in what had become of all the characters from the original book (and of course the Hulu TV series) -- The Handmaid's Tale. Overall a quick and enjoyable read from three points of view, June's two daughters and Aunt Lydia.

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kawidman
Mar 05, 2020

Holy unnecessary sequel, Batman!! I can’t think of a gentle way to start talking about this book, so what I’ll say is this book is what might happen if someone took a hard long look at what really worked well about The Handmaid’s Tale and said “okay but what if we did the opposite of that?” A thing you should understand about this book is that it’s much less a sequel to the 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale than it is a companion novel to the Hulu adaptation show The Handmaid’s Tale, and as such has a whole bunch of corniness, confusing world-building, and hard hitting questions that no one was asking, such as “what if Aunt Lydia was good, actually?”

What I will say for the book is that Atwood remains a skilled and engaging writer, capable of making even a deeply flawed narrative feel alive.

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luwilmot
Mar 05, 2020

Ch 9 p. 47

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Mersenne5
Feb 21, 2020

This book has brought back my love of reading. The writing is superb, and the story is a page-turner. I read The Handmaid's Tale when it came out, saw the movie, and am now watching the series on TV starring Elizabeth Moss. The Testaments carries forward the stories of Offred's two daughters and Aunt Lydia. My only tiny criticism is that Gilead is described as a "Puritan theocracy." In fact, the Puritans in America created a more just society among people of European ancestry than the European society they'd left behind. That's not saying much by today's standards, but still. The subject of the Puritan treatment of Indigenous People is another subject, and a tragic one.

JCLS_Ashland_Kristin Feb 18, 2020

I really enjoyed returning to the world of Handmaid's Tale. It's interesting to see how much has changed in our world that makes the world of Gilead seem even more sinister and plausible than it did when Handmaid's Tale was first published.

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KMHLehman
Feb 12, 2020

This book was okay, I like the way Margaret Atwood writes. However, it was confusing to me. I had to keep going back in the book to understand what I was currently reading. Also, it didn't open my eyes in any way and honestly, I couldn't wait until it was over. Having read The Handmaid's Tale, I was hoping it would be a continuation of that story about Offred. She was mentioned briefly but it wasn't much.

ArapahoeAnnaL Feb 03, 2020

I have not read "The Handmaid's Tale," but understand from others that it was a close-up view of how the theocracy played out in people's lives; this sequel certainly portrays the horror of life in Gilead but the three separate story lines make it less claustrophobic. Each subplot is incredibly engaging and makes for a wonderful page-turner. Winner of the 2019 Booker Prize.

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NadiaHathor
Oct 02, 2019

"There were swings in one of the parks, but because of our skirts, which might be blown up by the wind and then looked into, we were not to think of taking such a liberty as a swing. Only boys could taste that freedom; only they could swoop and soar; only they could be airborne. I've never been on a swing. It remains one of my wishes." Part II - Chapter 3 - pg.16

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