Saturday, April 26, 2008

Trevor's Review of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale

Amazing in its frightening and yet too plausible view of the future, this book is also a master lesson in narrative and metafiction.

First, the substance: Atwood's insight into so many facets of modern American life is so astounding, her genius cannot be questioned. She delves adroitly into feminism, theocracy, literary theory, world history, and so many other trends and philosophies they cannot all be listed. Yet Atwood never falters in her application. Each philosophy makes its way into the narrative with subtle accuracy. It's incredible. And it's scary.

Second, the style: I spent most of the book trying to figure out how the handmaid was telling her story, and to whom. And especially--why. Turns out I was wrong--I don't think I could have figured it out, honestly. But Atwood's narrative technique is perfect. By the end, one can question the accuracy of every single thing the narrator said, but the feeling is still there, real and unquestionable. This book is enjoyable as a simple read. But one can get so much out of studying it.
5 stars out of 5.

1 comment:

  1. I found this book disturbing at the same time captivating. Atwood's narrative is indeed a marvel. Although she would display a more acrobatic style in her later novels like The Blind Assassin, The Handmaid's Tale remains my favorite novel of hers.