Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dystopia...

Finished Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in pretty much one sitting. Very easy read. It's good stuff. Very disturbing. I was impressed by how it was written, all the attention to details, how she draws out the reality of the world and gives us the rules and history without having to sit down and tell us too directly. It's also interesting because towards the end, the narrator starts talking directly to somebody, who, we don't know. And then at the end, to find that it's sort of meta, is reallly intriguing.

I was a little sad that we didn't get our happy ending, but I also wouldn't have expected it of her. It would have been too easy. If she'd been writing for another crowd, maybe we would have gotten what came after - the break, the run, a la The Giver. But we didn't. She stops just enough for us to consider, for a moment, that maybe this is where her tale ends. Then she throws us a bone with the historical notes thing.

I admire Atwood's writing style. It's clean, detailed, a precise and stoic voice with a hint of wistfulness. It makes something like this easy to read, bearable considering the disturbing nature of the dystopia.

I actually am not doing a very good job of saying what I liked about this book, but as we all know, I'm awfully unfocused these days. Suffice to say that I enjoyed this, and Atwood is fast becoming a reliable favorite of mine. (This is only the second of hers I've read.)

2 drops:

moonrat said...

i really didn't like this book. alas, it kind of hits closer to home now than it did 6 years ago, when i read it. but. dystopian fiction isn't my favorite, so maybe my opinion isn't fair.

i love BLIND ASSASSIN, but only read ORYX AND CRAKE besides that, and hated it. another dystopian fiction.

Frank said...

I'm actually reading this with my juniors right now. It IS an easy read, a plot-driven book, but there's some depth to it, as well. It's been stirring up some lively discussions about similarities to The Giver, which I used to read with my seventh graders years ago...Although I really liked both books, I was disappointed by both endings...

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