**spoiler alert** Another brilliant piece of story telling from Maragaret Atwood. Disturbing, shocking and depressing, yes; it is post-apocalyptic fic**spoiler alert** Another brilliant piece of story telling from Maragaret Atwood. Disturbing, shocking and depressing, yes; it is post-apocalyptic fiction after all. There were some details I could have really done without, though I get the relevance to the story, in terms of showing just how desensitised to violence and abuse the citizens of this society had become,and how their cold, disengaged way of 'interacting' with the world had helped to create a society devoid of ethics, thus setting the stage for it's destruction, at the hands of Crake. It is an uncomfortable read, in that it leaves you with more questions than answers, and no one particular character to blame, as what Crake became almost seems inevitable in the context in which he was raised. And of course it is an uncomfortable read because of how chillingly close to reality it actually is, more so than I would like to acknowledge anyway. So overall, a scary read, but a very good one....more
One of the best books that I've read this year. I found the Handmaid's Tale original and engaging, and not that far-fetched for a futuristic/dystopia One of the best books that I've read this year. I found the Handmaid's Tale original and engaging, and not that far-fetched for a futuristic/dystopian story.
I love Atwood's writing style (based on the only two novels of hers I have read so far - this and the Blind Assassin). I think she does the stream of consciousness narrative technique really well (not every writer can pull this off), and her diction and imagery are striking. I also really liked the juxtaposition of the narrator's original 'liberal' personality, whose name we never learn, and the submissive, obedient being that is Offred (and the way in which the former at times shines through even under these ridiculous and horrible circumstances). Although the story was told in almost an emotionless sort of way, that juxtaposition we get through the flashbacks, gives the story its emotional impact.
I think it is one of those stories that is scarily poignant in pointing out how easily (easily is probaby not the right word, quickly maybe)people adapt to their labels and socially appointed positions, whether they are assigned to the role of the oppressed or the oppressor, which is always an uncomfortable realisation, since we all like to believe that wouldn't be us.
In short, I think Atwood is a really skilled writer, and this was a really great read. Can't wait to read more of hers. Oryx and Crake is next on my reading pile.
While much of the content is obviously still disturbing and upsetting, I got much more from this reading. IRe-read 2014 and bumped from 2 stars to 4.
While much of the content is obviously still disturbing and upsetting, I got much more from this reading. I think the main problem when I first read this (over ten years ago)was that I watched the film before reading the book, and I really despised the film, (and wouldn't bother watching it again), so my reading experience was tainted by this. Also reading in the introduction (to the first version I read) about the author's wife being the victim of gang-rape, made me feel quite sickened like he'd used her horrific ordeal as a creative opportunity for him to explore the psyche of the perpetrator with not enough regard to the pain of the victim (in this case his very own wife). I still feel a bit that way actually, less so than before I really noted the differences between the film and the novel, but I don't know enough of the background story to make that judgement call really.
I do know I got more of the dystopian philosophies behind it this time, the importance of choice and free-will, the possibility that even very immoral people can choose to change and make the decision to act morally, that the potential methods authorities may (hypothetically) choose to enforce others to behave in a moral way, would make them no better than the criminal etc.
I don't remember the last chapter from my first reading, so not sure if the first version I read did contain it or not, but I think it is a better ending and offers some hope, though at the same time feels quite unrealistic!
Not sure 4 star is really the 'right' rating for me to give to A Clockwork Orange as I don't 'really like it', in terms of content and its origins, but I did enjoy the style and in particular deciphering the Nadsat (this time I read the kindle version and could not be bothered going back and forth to the glossary, the whole time)....more