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  1. #621

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped. It seems sort of pretentious and implausible.
    I read it and really liked it, but that was a long time ago. I don't know how well it has aged and how it would compare to more recent dystopian fiction if I read it again.

  2. #622

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped. It seems sort of pretentious and implausible.
    I love it To me, it's absolutely chilling and I can see something like that happening so easily.

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    An iconic book by Atwood.

    Read on, RockTheTassel. *wags finger*
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  4. #624
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    I've read every single one of Atwood's books and although I don't think Handmaid's Tale is necessarily the best ... it is undoubtedly an iconic classic. Implausible? Well, perhaps, but it's speculative fiction, a look at the role of men in power and the decisions they make about women's bodies -- remarkable still relevant today, particularly in the US.

    Pretentious? Not at all.

    But I haven't re-read it for 15 or more years so I couldn't say how well it holds up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped. It seems sort of pretentious and implausible.
    I have, and I'll be the dissenting voice here and kind of agree with you. It may be that I just put off reading it for too long and no book could live up to the hype by that point, but I was very disappointed. I generally find Atwood pretentious and I thought the execution was implausible, even if the premise maybe was not. All I could think was, Mary McCarthy was right.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

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    Characterization in general is weak in ''The Handmaid's Tale,'' which maybe makes it a poet's novel. I cannot tell Luke, the husband, from Nick, the chauffeur-lover who may be an Eye (government spy) and/ or belong to the ''Mayday'' underground. Nor is the Commander strongly drawn. Again, the Aunts are best.
    I don't disagree. They are all "bricks in the wall," so one has to wonder if this lack of depth and 3D in characterization was intentional. It works for me because the state ground your identity down to the prescribed role. I also feel that the male characters were intentionally interchangeable. Of course, I cannot be certain if that really was her intent.
    How sad for postfeminists that one does not feel for Offred-June half as much as one did for Winston Smith, no hero either but at any rate imaginable.
    I feel the opposite. I feel that Offred's outward lack of pathos and casual narrative voice makes the situation all the more horrific and makes me feel for her.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    I feel that Offred's outward lack of pathos and casual narrative voice makes the situation all the more horrific and makes me feel for her.
    To each her own. I took Offred's character as Atwood's slap at mainstream women.
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  8. #628
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    Really? Why? I have to admit it's been ages since I've read it.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  9. #629
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped. It seems sort of pretentious and implausible.
    I know there are several posters here that like Margaret Atwood's books. I am not one of them. I read The Handmaid's Tale, didn't like it and I choose other authors to read now. I found other "post apocalyptic society" books (for want of a better term) to be more enjoyable and with more impact. Maybe it's a generational thing.
    Last edited by A.H.Black; 09-23-2013 at 12:39 AM.

  10. #630

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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped. It seems sort of pretentious and implausible.
    I teach it in my Dystopian Lit class. You have to look at the time it was written as well; it was in response the "Moral Majority" rising up and failure of the Equal Rights Amendment.

    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    To each her own. I took Offred's character as Atwood's slap at mainstream women.
    She is. She represents what happen when women don't continue to fight for their rights and become complacent. I think this also explains her complacency with what happens to her when she becomes a Handmaid.

  11. #631

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    I was rather reluctant to read The Handmaid's Tale and can't remember why I finally decided to do it (I think that maybe I felt like it was something I had to do), but I ended up really liking it. It's probably the only Atwood book that I've found compelling from start to finish (as opposed to Alias Grace, which petered off about two-thirds of the way in or The Blind Assassin, which had one really strong story and three weaker ones) and seemed much less pretentious than some of her other books like The Robber Bride.

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    I hated The Handmaid's Tale. I've read much better SF dystopian fiction (for my taste). I hated it so much that I never read another Atwood for about twenty years, until I listened to half of Alias Grace on the CBC radio, and was compelled to find and finish it. I loved it, and The Robber Bride.
    ‎"You emerge victorious from the maze you've been travelling in." Oct 21,2012- Best Fortune Cookie Ever!

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    She is. She represents what happen when women don't continue to fight for their rights and become complacent. I think this also explains her complacency with what happens to her when she becomes a Handmaid.
    I think that was more the point of the book than anything else. There's a rather vague mishmash of other dystopian elements, but the main message seems to be that women like Offred allowed this to happen to them and continue to allow it to happen by simply accepting, albeit begrudgingly, Gilead as the state of things.

    Offred's romance with the chauffeur even follows fairly traditional lines, as did her marriage. I haven't read any criticism of the book for a long time, but I remember the feminist critics used to really growl over that element and I thought that was also part of the point.

    Quote Originally Posted by rjblue View Post
    I hated The Handmaid's Tale. I've read much better SF dystopian fiction (for my taste).
    Atwood does not like the book to be classified as SF.
    Trolling dates all the way back to 397 B.C. - People began following Plato around and would make fart noises after everything he said.

  14. #634
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    I finished Skeletons at the Feast, by Chris Bohjalian. It got rave reviews, but I was disappointed. Have just started a new one by Joe Lansdale called The Thicket. I've enjoyed some of his other books, and I'm liking this one so far, too.

  15. #635
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    Quote Originally Posted by RockTheTassel View Post
    Has anyone here read The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood? I'm about fifty pages in, and it's not as intriguing as I'd hoped.
    I liked the theory of the story better than the actual story she wrote. IOW, when people retell the plot, I find it interesting. When I actually read what she wrote, I find it..................less interesting . To me, she's not a very compelling storyteller in this book, so it felt rather sterile to me. IRL Atwood comes off as more than a little pretentious (and not exactly possessing of the greatest social analyses). Sort of like her book

    Haven't read through the thread, so my apologies if this was discussed previously, but has anyone read Khaled Hosseini's "And the Mountains Echoed?" I was wondering what people thought of it, particularly the second half.

  16. #636

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    I'm reading Nicole Gallard's "Godiva" at the moment. It's an interesting take on the legend, with Godica as a Countess who uses brains and beauty to further her husband's causes and avoid bloodshed among the battling lords of early medieval Britain. King Edward, however, has seen through her wiles and refuses to go along with her very sound reasoning for abolishing a crippling tax that pays for a mercenary army simply because he doesn't want the courtiers to see him a a weakling yeiling to a woman's persuasions. I'm curious to see how the author gets from there to Godiva's famous ride, which never really made all that much sense to me. But the telling is entertaining.
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  17. #637

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    Finally started Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, years after I bought it. Always on the cutting edge, that's me.
    Charter member of the "We Always Believed in Ashley" Club and the "We Believe in Ricky" Club

  18. #638
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    Quote Originally Posted by PrincessLeppard View Post
    She represents what happen when women don't continue to fight for their rights and become complacent. I think this also explains her complacency with what happens to her when she becomes a Handmaid.
    Yes.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

  19. #639

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    Ihttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/This_Is_Where_I_Leave_You

    know several people here lived Jonathan Tropper's "This is Where I Leave You". The movie has been cast, and Jason Bateman will be playingJudd. Tina Fey, Jane Fonda, rose Byrne and Connie Britton are also in it. Tropper also wrote the screenplay and it will be directed by Shawn Levy.

  20. #640
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    Thanks! Loved that book, will try to catch the movie.
    "Nature is a damp, inconvenient sort of place where birds and animals wander about uncooked."

    from Speedy Death

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