Atwood Expands The Handmaid's Tale in New Audiobook

Posted by Cybil on March 29, 2017


This post is brought to you by Audible.

"Are there any questions?"

That was the final sentence of Margaret Atwood's dystopian feminist classic The Handmaid's Tale. But now, just as the novel is being adapted into a 10-part series for Hulu, Atwood has updated the audiobook version of her 1985 work exclusively for Audible.


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And apparently there are questions to answer. The new section of this audiobook will pick up after that final line.

In The Handmaid's Tale, a violent coup has overthrown the U.S. government and an oppressive new regime, the Republic of Gilead, has taken its place. In this new order, Offred is no longer a free American, but a Handmaid assigned the task of procreation for the Commander and his wife. Offred navigates Gilead's dangers as she records her story.

The original book ends far into the future, the year 2195, as those attending a symposium listen to a historian talk about Offred's tapes and what they can discern from her recordings about life in the now extinct Gilead. The audiobook features a Q&A between the chair of the symposium, the historian, and members of the audience.

While the original text is performed by actress Claire Danes, this addition to the U.S. version of the audiobook is performed by a full cast.

“I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over thirty years ago come alive on new platforms every year,” Atwood said in a statement. “The roots of my original book are in audio—Offred’s story was recorded, not written, and even the ‘Historical Notes’ are a voice—so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard. … The Handmaid’s Tale is alive, it seems — and like all living things, it grows and multiplies!”



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Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by Anissa (new)

Anissa I need to hop over to Audible & get this! I wanted an epilogue to the epilogue & the transcripts to the first eleven symposia of Gilead when I finished this book.


message 2: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Ania Is this available on Audible currently?


message 3: by Michael (new)

Michael Samantha wrote: "Is this available on Audible currently?" Yes it is Samantha you can find it here: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The...


message 4: by Nono (new)

Nono <3


message 5: by Cat (new)

Cat Oooh! This is exciting. This sounds really cool.


message 6: by Samantha (new)

Samantha Ania Michael wrote: "Samantha wrote: "Is this available on Audible currently?" Yes it is Samantha you can find it here: http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The..."
Thank you!!!!!


message 7: by ScarlettMi (new)

ScarlettMi I listened to the Claire Danes version quite a while ago and it remains one of my favourite audiobook narrations/performances. She really did a great job with it.


message 8: by Louise (last edited Apr 05, 2017 10:44AM) (new)

Louise Hartgen I just pelted over to the UK Audible to get this. The only version available here is the Joanna David narration I already have. Very sad about this. I really want this expanded version.

As an addendum I contacted the UK Audible who told me they had no idea when or even whether it would be added to the UK's Audible list but they would submit my request to their content team. In other words, don't hold your breath. I have to say I'm pretty appalled by this. Does the author know? It's not just the fact that I can't read a book I want to, this is an important addition to an important piece of literature, and access to it seems to be very limited.


message 9: by Mylène (new)

Mylène If we previsouly bought the Audible Claire Danes version, can we get the new ending for free, or at least get a rebate on the new book?


message 10: by Iris (last edited Apr 05, 2017 12:31PM) (new)

Iris Will this ever be transcribed in print so that I can just buy the book?


message 11: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mylène wrote: "If we previously bought the Audible Claire Danes version, can we get the new ending for free, or at least get a rebate on the new book?"

I would be surprised if they offered to do so. Considering the reality that many titles have multiple versions with different narrators. If the exception is made for this title why not the rest?


message 12: by Mylène (new)

Mylène Sarah wrote: "I would be surprised if they offered to do so. Considering the reality that many titles have multiple versions with different narrators. If the exception is made for this title why not the rest? "

I understand your point, but it's not a new version with a new narrator, they just added an exclusive ending... I don't really feel like paying full price for 1 chapter.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mylène wrote: "I understand your point, but it's not a new version with a new narrator, they just added an exclusive ending."

Rather than posing your question here it may be better to send a note to customer service. Although the policy may be otherwise an exception may be made on your behalf. :-)


message 14: by Mylène (new)

Mylène Sarah wrote: "Rather than posing your question here it may be better to send a note to customer service."

I realized right after posting my last comment that it would be best way to get answers, so I did. :-)

They were able to refund me the previous version so that I could buy the new one. Great customer service over at Audible!


message 15: by Judith (new)

Judith Anissa wrote: "I need to hop over to Audible & get this! I wanted an epilogue to the epilogue & the transcripts to the first eleven symposia of Gilead when I finished this book."

If you own the Kindle version, the Audible one is only $3.99, as I happily just found out!


message 16: by Denise (new)

Denise Romero Mylène wrote: "Sarah wrote: "Rather than posing your question here it may be better to send a note to customer service."

I realized right after posting my last comment that it would be best way to get answers, s..."


I am glad you posted the question on this forum. I was wondering the same thing and now I know that I can get a refund. Thanks!


message 17: by Michelle (last edited Apr 05, 2017 04:59PM) (new)

Michelle Mylène wrote: "If we previsouly bought the Audible Claire Danes version, can we get the new ending for free, or at least get a rebate on the new book?"

I had bought the kindle book and the old audible edition and it said I could get the new one for less than $4, but I think that was heavily based on the fact I had bought the kindle book as well. And yes I did get the new one, I haven't found much of a difference, but I was also in the middle of listening to the audible edition again. My guess is more of the voices will be at the end.

Edit: What I've noticed is there is commentary by Atwood about the revival of the Handmaid's Tale and there's a reading of an essay about the Handmaid's Tale, it's really good, I recommend it. I've already read Atwood's commentary elsewhere so that was about the same for me, but the essay was new to me.


message 18: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Mylène wrote: "I realized right after posting my last comment that it would be best way to."

Excellent! Enjoy the new book. :-)


message 19: by Erin (new)

Erin This is so exciting! I loved this book and can't wait to see what Atwood did!


Amy "the book-bat" This one finally got me to break down and sign up for my free trial at Audible. I had been looking for an audio version but my library and Overdrive didn't have one available. Now I finally have one. :-) Thanks!


message 21: by Eddie (new)

Eddie shame... how publishers screw people out of good books.. out of copyright and greed claims.

How bout this. let's pay for a book AFTER we read it, and only what we want, based on how we enjoyed it. Yes.. tipping.

I've seen it to many times, where people have buyers regret reading a book.. and that regret at paying for an ebook that costs more than a print edition does more to drive down the ratings of a book on here, than the actual opinion of the book :)


message 22: by Reese (new)

Reese I was able to download the audio with kindle unlimited. Hopefully this includes the extras.


message 23: by Kaitlynn (new)

Kaitlynn Eddie wrote: "shame... how publishers screw people out of good books.. out of copyright and greed claims.

How bout this. let's pay for a book AFTER we read it, and only what we want, based on how we enjoyed it...."


"I want to consume art without the onus of actually paying the artist for it."

Just go to a library then, they rent digital copies now. If you don't like the cost of a digital version, get a print copy or rent the book.

People rating books based on the price rather than the actual content indicates a problem with the reviewer, not the work.


message 24: by Eddie (new)

Eddie people rate a 12$ steak dinner differently than they do a 75$ steak dinner.


message 25: by Rusty (new)

Rusty HANDMAIDEN'S TALE AN AUDIO BOOK GREAT IDEA. RELEASE SOONEST.


message 26: by Francesca (new)

Francesca I'm somewhat conflicted by this. On the one hand: OMG! Extra content to one of my favourite books! Give me it now! but on the other hand: I actually loved the open ending that the book had and thought it worked perfectly in the context of the rest of the book so I'm not sure if I want to read more that may feel unnecessary.

Hmm, I feel like my excited hand is going to definitely win although someone else on here has already said that apparently it isn't available in the UK yet so that's a pain.


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