I have only one complaint about this novel: that it isn't part of a series-I could have read at least three more books about the city of Gilead. Offred is living in an oppressive patriarchal society, serving as a handmaid to The Commander and his wife, Serena Joy. In war-time America where Congress has been overthrown and families torn apart, population has taken a perilous plunge. Handmaids have been trained and dispatched for one purpose: to become pregnant and repopulate the nation. Everyone has a prescribed profession, and everyone has their reasons for playing their part. Everyone is being watched, everyone is watching, and the cost for defying the corrupt higher officials is steep. This dystopian futuristic story has it all: suspense, unrequited love, violence, cultural and political commentary, underground societies, and so much more. (Not to mention Margaret Atwood's marvelous writing). The Handmaid's Tale left me contemplating for days after I finished reading it.
First published in 1985, this is a novel of such power that the reader is unable to forget its images and its forecast. It is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force. "A novel that brilliantly illuminates some of the darker interconnections between politics and sex".--"The Washington Post Book World".