Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Handmaid's tale

Author: Margaret Atwood

Honestly, when I started reading the book my first impression was: what a bore! It takes quite some time to build up your tempo and if you've the patience to do that then you can reach the end of the novel with much ease. Slowly and gradually it does get you engrossed in it. My overall opinion of the novel: it's good, not great.

The story is set in a future time; a barbaric time where the women are treated as objects of reproduction and those who are not capable of performing that function are banished to "colonies", common people do not have access to any kind of media, a small mistake results into a gross punishment, so on and so forth. It centers around a woman living in such a background. How people have their own ways of fulfilling their desires in the midst of restrictions.

Having read quite a few novels based on the oppressions on the women in certain parts of the world, it didn't seem to me to be a totally novel plot. To me it appeared to be more of an extension of the above. Maybe at the time when the novel was written the storyline must've been very original; but in today's age it doesn't appear so. It ceases to remain futuristic; it is what's happening or has happened in some parts of the world.

Bottomline: A good read.


Shashwati said...

Perhaps you would like these films too... I amn't sure how close to truth these are (esp. the first one, but shot with a hand camera on the streets, it seems like such a brutal living)
1. Dayareh
2. Baran

Shashwati said...

Oh, and I forgot what I meant to post basically - I guess you'll agree that one doesn't need to travel back or forth in time to witness the plot in this book... thats why I posted links to those films in the first place!! :-)

Ab said...

hey, i completely identify with struggling to keep reading a book after one chapter, but then it captivates yr attention later. In fact, the best example is Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'... difficult to keep reading, but once u get involved, difficult to put yr mind off it.
in fact i think War and peace is a great novel, albeit long!

Smriti said...

@Shashwati, nice recommendations will try to watch these. Have you read "Not without my daughter" by Betty Mahmoody? It's a true story and reflects the plight of women in Iran. I'd also read another book about the condition of women in the middle east but just can't bring the name to my mind.

@Ab, "War and peace" was a great novel and worth the wait past the first few pages; but not this one. It's just ok.