The Testaments by Margaret Atwood review – a dazzling follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale


This post is by Anne Enright from Books | The Guardian


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Margaret Atwood is at her best in this Booker-shortlisted return, three decades on, to the patriarchal dystopia of Gilead

Margaret Atwood had a cameo in the television series based on her book The Handmaid’s Tale. She played an Aunt in a scene where a woman is ritually shamed by a group of handmaids for “getting herself” gang raped at the age of 14. “Her fault, she led them on,” is the chant they use. Atwood says she found the scene “horribly upsetting”, although it was possibly not so wrenching to write as it was to enact or, later, for us to watch.

In the original book, a few deft sentences lead the reader, not into the magnetising shaming of another human being, but to the narrator Offred’s insight into her own complicity. “I used to think well of myself,” she says. “I didn’t then.” The scene is moral, not ...