Widely regarded as one of the world’s leading writers, Margaret Atwood is an author, essayist, poet and activist whose inventive and diverse literary output ranges widely and deeply from feminist classics such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Edible Woman to complex blends of Science Fiction and reality such as her Man Booker Prize winning novel The Blind Assassin and chilling dystopian visions like Oryx and Crake.
A stunning bespoke gift edition of a classic work of feminist fiction, a frighteningly real dystopia that speaks afresh to every new generation of readers. Featuring an iconic design from a prize-winning artist, eye-catching sprayed edges and ribbon, this is the perfect present for those who like their beauty with a bit of bite.
Offred lives in The Republic of Gilead, to some a utopian vision of the future, a place of safety, a place where everyone has a purpose, a function. But The Republic of Gilead offers Offred only one function: to breed.
If she deviates, she will, like dissenters, be hanged at the wall or sent out to die slowly of radiation sickness. But even a repressive state cannot obliterate desire - neither Offred's nor that of the two men on which her future hangs.
Brilliantly conceived and executed, this powerful evocation of twenty-first century America gives full rein to Margaret Atwood's devastating irony, wit and astute perception.
‘There’s Nothing Foolproof’
Books without boundaries, Margaret Atwood’s novels refuse to be categorized. Are they feminist ideologies, haunting dystopias, mythical re-workings or science fiction classics? The answer may be all of these things and yet none of them, quite.
'We Lived In the Gaps Between the Stories...'
'EXTINCTATHON, Monitored By MaddAddam... Do You Want To Play?'The Maddaddam Trilogy is, quite simply, a contemporary masterpiece, a chilling dystopian vision that will stay with you long after you've read the final page.
'Pedestals Actually Have a Limited Circumference. Not Much Room to Move Around.'
Margaret Atwood continually experiments in her work, in novels as well as poetry, essays and critical works.
'I Read For Pleasure and That is the Moment I Learn the Most.'
How do you pin down the novels of Margaret Atwood? Are they feminist ideologies? Haunting dystopias? Mythical re-workings? Science fiction classics? Perhaps the answer is best fudged to say all of these things and yet none of them, quite.
Her first publications were poetry, a form to which she has returned throughout her career. Yet it was with the publication of her novel The Edible Woman, about a woman who finds her ordered life spiralling and stops eating as a way to prevent herself from being ‘eaten’, that she first found literary recognition. Published in 1969 the novel was quickly adopted by the feminist movement but Atwood has always denied the label, saying "novels are something else. They aren't just political messages… it's not a matter of men against women."
An Alternative HistoryMore novels followed including Surfacing and Lady Oracle, continuing the themes of women’s relationships with their bodies and negotiations of social and sexual politics that were fast becoming her trademarks.
Then, in the spring of 1984, whilst living in West Berlin, still at that time encircled by the Berlin Wall, Atwood wrote the iconic masterpiece The Handmaid’s Tale, a twisted Orwellian future where reproduction is threatened and women enslaved for their potential to do so. Now an oft-studied school text, the novel is frequently described as dystopian but although influenced by Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451, Atwood claims she only included events with real precedence, she commented, "I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behaviour."
'A Future Whose Beginnings Are Already With Us'The novels that followed have continued to stretch and challenge readers and critics’ expectations and have ranged from more straightforward narratives such as in Cat’s Eye to the more experimental, including her contribution to The Canongate Myths Series, The Penelopiad, and a new version of The Tempest, Hag Seed.
Atwood’s more recent novels have often had a distinct flavour of science fiction, including The Blind Assassin (for which she won both The Booker Prize and the Arthur C Clarke Prize for Science Fiction) and her Maddaddam trilogy. Atwood prefers, however, to call hers ‘speculative’ fiction, saying "…they think you’re dissing science fiction. That’s not what I’m doing, I’m simply pointing out I cannot write those books. Much as I’m a devotee of Star Trek, I’m not good at writing them… Not my wheelhouse."
Like the creations and characters that inhabit them, Atwood’s novels are slippery things; neither fish, nor flesh, nor fowl but something magically, wonderfully of their own element, best experienced rather than described.
At 77, she is still constantly experimenting and she says she dreads being called an icon, "If you’re put on a pedestal you’re supposed to behave yourself like a pedestal type of person. Pedestals actually have a limited circumference. Not much room to move around."
Recommended Further ReadingWith such a range and breadth to Atwood’s output readers looking to branch out beyond have a wealth of influences to look towards. Many of her more fantastical works have their influences in classic dystopias such as Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 but more contemporary novels of the genre owe much to Atwood, in particular Emily St John Mandel’s masterful novel Station Eleven and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let me Go and Sarah Perry’s After Me Comes the Flood.
Her contemporary fiction has inspired many other authors including Lauren Groff, whose novel Fates and Furies is a studied portrait of love and revenge. Other books to consider would be Deborah Levy’s Hot Milk, Elizabeth Strout’s My Name is Lucy Barton and Sarah Moss’s Tidal Zone.