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The B&N Podcast


Oct 1, 2019

The Testaments is Margaret Atwood's long-awaited return to the world and characters of her 1985 classic The Handmaid's Tale, a dystopian novel set in a fictional near-future theocracy called Gilead, a nation in which religious fundamentalists wield absolute power, and which organizes itself chiefly around the subjugation of women. Atwood's literary career has been among the most prolific and wide-ranging among novelists of her generation — a short sampling of her notable works includes Cat's Eye, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, The Robber Bride and the MaddAddam Trilogy — The Handmaid's Tale and the story of its narrator Offred has resonated with readers through decades. It's acquired a fresh generation of readers since becoming the basis for a television adaptation on the streaming platform Hulu. So it's no exaggeration to say that readers worldwide were exultant to learn that this fall Atwood would return to Gilead and to some of its characters in her new novel The Testaments. And the resulting book is no disappointment, a story of intrigue and struggle to survive that both reflects our fears for how close our future might be to the dangers Atwood signals — and offers a vision of the humanity that is not only capable of endurance, but resistance. Atwood spoke with B&N's Miwa Messer about what it meant to return to the dark and compelling world she's brought into life in a book we've been thrilled to name a Barnes & Noble Book Club selection.