Written By: Margaret Atwood
Narrated By: Margaret Atwood, Derek Jacobi, Tantoo Cardinal, Mae Whitman, Ann Dowd, Bryce Dallas Howard
Publisher: Random House (Audio)
Date: September 2019
Duration: 13 hours 19 minutes
The Testaments Audio books Free Summary
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE
The Testaments is a modern masterpiece, a powerful novel that can be read on its own or as a companion to Margaret Atwood’s classic, The Handmaid’s Tale.
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third: Aunt Lydia. Her complex past and uncertain future unfold in surprising and pivotal ways.
With The Testaments, Margaret Atwood opens up the innermost workings of Gilead, as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
The Testaments is a 2019 novel by Margaret Atwood. It is a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale (1985). The novel is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale. It is narrated by Aunt Lydia, a character from the previous novel; Agnes, a young woman living in Gilead; and Daisy, a young woman living in Canada.
The Testaments was joint winner of the 2019 Man Booker Prize, alongside Bernardine Evaristo’s novel Girl, Woman, Other. It was also voted ‘Best Fiction’ novel in the Goodreads Choice Awards 2019, winning by over 50,000 votes.
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“Testaments” is the long-awaited sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale” first a bestselling novel by distinguished Canadian author Margaret Atwood and then a wildly successful series based on the book on Hulu.
If you expected a “happily ever after” story about “Offred” that isn’t this book. It’s more about the fall of the dystopian and non-functional Gilead from the point of view of some of the women, gender-traitors, who run the regime and also some of the young women born into the system. Haven’t you wondered what a young girl would think of her impending marriage in such a world where women are vessels, not allowed to read and treated as chattel?
Best of all in this book is the story of Agnes Jemima, a young girl growing up as a daughter of a Commander and a Wife. She’s an innocent, trying to make sense of the Gilead world where everything is kept secret or is an out-and-out deception. Her simplistic voice is almost like that of Offred in the original Handmaid book, with its cool observation and background of confusion about what went on before or behind her back.
Then we get the “autobiography” and first-person story of Aunt Lydia, the moral guardian of the Gilead society. As well as some of the story of the “Underground Female-Road” and the resistance (Mayday Movement) The deeper look into the complex villain Aunt Lydia fleshes out the cartoonish cruel and vicious prison matron picture into something much more interesting.
I wondered how such a dysfunctional society bent on execution, control and utter despondency could survive for long, so here is the sequel filling in that story.
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Serena Davies of The Daily Telegraph described The Testaments as “a lurid and powerful sequel”. She concluded: “Atwood has given us a blockbuster of propulsive, almost breathless narrative, stacked with twists and turns worthy of a Gothic novel”.
In an interview by Martha Teichner, for CBS News Sunday Morning, Atwood insisted the novel contains “tons of hope— lots and lots of hope” when questioned about the premise. Michiko Kakutani, writing for The New York Times, contrasts Atwood’s thesis of writing one’s testimony being an “act of hope”, against “the pompous, myopic Gileadean scholars who narrate the satirical epilogues” of both The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments.
The book was shortlisted for the 2020 Fiction Book of the Year in the British Book Awards.
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