The B&N Podcast: Margaret Atwood Returns to Gilead


Every author has a story beyond the one that they put down on paper. The Barnes & Noble Podcast goes between the lines with today’s most interesting writers, exploring what inspires them, what confounds them, and what they were thinking when they wrote the books we’re talking about.

The Testaments is Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited return to the world and characters of her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale, a dystopian novel set in a fictional near-future theocracy called Gilead, a nation in which religious fundamentalists wield absolute power, and which organizes itself chiefly around the subjugation of women.  Atwood’s literary career has been among the most prolific and wide-ranging among novelists of her generation — a short sampling of her notable works includes Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, The Robber Bride and the Maddaddam Trilogy — The Handmaid’s Tale and the story of its narrator Offred has resonated with readers through decades. It’s acquired a fresh generation of readers since becoming the basis for a hit television adaptation. So it’s no exaggeration to say that readers worldwide were exultant to learn that this fall Atwood would return to Gilead and to some of its characters in The Testaments. And the resulting book is no disappointment, a story of intrigue and struggle to survive that both reflects our fears for how close our future might be to the dangers Atwood signals — and offers a vision of the humanity that is not only capable of endurance, but resistance. Atwood spoke with B&N’s Miwa Messer about what it meant to return to the dark and compelling world’ she’s brought into life in a book we’ve been thrilled to name a Barnes & Noble Book club selection.

In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades.

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead for her—freedom, prison or death.

With The Testaments, the wait is over.

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” —Margaret Atwood

This Barnes & Noble Book Club Edition contains a Q&A with Margaret Atwood as well as a reading group guide.

Shortlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize

See more books by Margaret Atwood.

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