Top positive review
11 September 2019
I read it in a few hours. Who could put it down, after waiting all this time? It was incredibly tense, of course, and at the start it’s jolting to realise whose thoughts you’re hearing. I have always desperately needed to know more about Aunt Lydia, for reasons that say more about me than the book or the author, and it answered that need entirely, on so many levels. The other characters felt less sharply drawn but I assume that is by design. You’re in their minds, experiencing the world inside and outside Gilead, so you’re sharing their level of maturity and understanding, which is terrifying in it’s own way. (Of all the women and girls in Gilead, we’d heard the least from/about the girls being raised in it; the ones with no memory of before.) And as for that world...well, Atwood’s great skill is letting a little detail (the right details) go a very long way in your head, which is where the true horror of Gilead lives. This book gives you a resolution, yes, but it’s chilling how tenuous it seemed, right to the end. I put it down when I was done, but I don’t feel “safe” yet.