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The Testaments by Margaret Attwood

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#1 PaulaHall

Posted 09 September 2019 - 01:42 PM

The Testaments is a sequel to The Handmaids Tale, and is set 15 years post when The Handmaids Tale finished.

I have heard that this is told by 3 characters in a trial setting, two f them characters being June's children.

It is due for release tomorrow and I can't wait to read this.

#2 tarrie cat

Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:34 PM

Already finished it!

Three narrators but I'm not going to say who they are as I don't want to spoil it for anyone. But I will say it's not in a trial setting.

Margaret Atwood is such a brilliant writer. I started reading it Tuesday night and I had such trouble putting it down but I really needed to go to sleep. I read the rest yesterday. I had to finish it because I had to know how it ended.

#3 TheGreenSheep

Posted 12 September 2019 - 05:42 PM

I’m finishing Handmaids Tale hoping to read this next!

#4 rosie28

Posted 12 September 2019 - 06:01 PM

I’m saving it until I get on a plane tomorrow. It’s hard knowing it’s in the house and I can’t read it!

#5 Soon2be7

Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:12 PM

Planning on getting this but wondering if I should re-read Handmaids Tale beforehand?

#6 tarrie cat

Posted 12 September 2019 - 08:36 PM

I did reread The Handmaid's Tale in anticipation of this but it was mostly so that it would be clearer in the my head and not mixed up with the tv show. But if you're familiar enough with it, I wouldn't bother and I'd jump right in.

#7 PaulaHall

Posted 13 September 2019 - 11:35 AM

I've finally started it this morning on the train (had to finish what i was reading before i could start).

I'm probably 50 pages in and I didn't want to stop reading to get off the train! I can see I'll probably put off what i should be doing over the weekend (housework etc.) to read instead.

#8 Chazonator

Posted 13 September 2019 - 06:23 PM

I came to the handmaids tale thing late I got the book read about half and then watched season 2 and 3 of the TV show. After reading the previous posts I think I may need to go read the first book before getting the testaments book to fully understand it all!

#9 Lunagirl

Posted 13 September 2019 - 07:18 PM

I’ve finished too! I started yesterday after seeing this thread. So hard to put down!

#10 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 16 September 2019 - 09:53 PM

Just finished the book. A bit disappointed. Feel like it lacked detail, and lacked suspense. It feels rushed. A good read but not brilliant. Reminded me of teen fiction, like the hunger games, but not quite as good.

#11 PaulaHall

Posted 17 September 2019 - 08:56 AM

View Post~LemonMyrtle~, on 16 September 2019 - 09:53 PM, said:

Just finished the book. A bit disappointed. Feel like it lacked detail, and lacked suspense. It feels rushed. A good read but not brilliant. Reminded me of teen fiction, like the hunger games, but not quite as good.

i agree, it did read like teen fiction didn't it.

i feel good and bad about this one.

It has been about 35 years since Handmaids was released, this was a very different writing style to that book.  I felt this one didn't have that bleakness/despair with a tinge of hope of that Handmaids had.

I was left wanting more which is a good thing.  But that could be because of what was not in this story.

Overall i did enjoy it, but found it lacking, partly due to my expectations, and partly due to the very different style of this book to the original Handmaids.

#12 JoanJett

Posted 17 September 2019 - 10:22 AM

View Post~LemonMyrtle~, on 16 September 2019 - 09:53 PM, said:

Just finished the book. A bit disappointed. Feel like it lacked detail, and lacked suspense. It feels rushed. A good read but not brilliant. Reminded me of teen fiction, like the hunger games, but not quite as good.

I found it hard to reconcile with the original book.  Perhaps that is stylistic though - the first is a classic dystopian horror that feels too close to reality, and this is more really vignettes.  I enjoyed reading it, but it won't "stay with me" like the original.

One protagonist/narrator's storyline seemed too convenient - "means justifies the ends", but perhaps that is using power the only way one can and probably brings to mind stories of collaborators/double agents in wars/dictatorships.

I think that a fourth narrator (Offred) would have tied the book together better....

#13 ~LemonMyrtle~

Posted 17 September 2019 - 11:07 AM

I think it both had too much happen in it, whilst also leaving out a lot of things that would have made it more interesting.

Also, in the TV show, nothing goes right for anyone, which makes it suspenseful, and sometimes annoying, but matches with the first book.  In this second book everything is a bit too convenient.

#14 JoanJett

Posted 18 September 2019 - 07:12 PM

I'm sure everyone read this or watched it, but I found her insights interesting:


particularly the part about being unable to recreate Offred's voice - I wonder if that was the time passed (and all the lived experience of that time interval), or the influence/impact of the TV series altering her original conception of Offred/June.


I also appreciated her comments re extremism and abuse of power as the driving force of her book/s.  It resonated with me.

Edited by JoanJett, 18 September 2019 - 07:21 PM.

#15 tarrie cat

Posted 20 September 2019 - 01:28 PM

Watched that 7:30 Report interview too and her comment about not being able to recreated Offred's voice was really interesting.

#16 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 20 September 2019 - 02:09 PM

I'm part of the way through, and I really want a Commander's wife point of view. One that wasn't totally on board with the regime and actually has a relationship with her husband and talks to him. All I am reading so far is men very distanced from anyone female. I want to see the grey, not just the black and white.

#17 cinnamonnutmeg

Posted 20 September 2019 - 04:45 PM

I got to the third act and was shocked I got there. It's almost like we're missing a third of the book.

It was ok. I didn't have high aspirations. It was a bit twee and convenient. I am a bit sick of the single perspective. I would have liked to have seen more of outside that small slice of Gilead.

It almost feels as if The Handmaids Tale and Gilead exist in 3 different but tied parallel universes.

If I could sum it up all up in a word it'd be a vaguely interested "hm"

#18 laridae

Posted 20 September 2019 - 07:50 PM

So, I've read it. It was ok. I didn't love it. It kind of read like fan fiction of the show rather than a sequel of the first book.
It was a bit too predictable. And the plot seemed very contrived really. A lot of the actions of characters didn't really make a lot of sense. Don't want to go too far into detail as I don't want to spoil it for people.
I'm enjoying the tv series, and tbh I'm a bit disappointed that I know how everything is going to end up. It's made me not really want to watch the show any more. It's a bit too depressing. I think it would have been better to release it after the show has ended, to wrap everything up.

#19 jayskette

Posted 21 September 2019 - 06:20 PM

I was expecting the intensity and descriptiveness of the original, but this feels like a quick cash grab, there wasn't enough sides of the story and I would be much happier if there were a part 2 to this a la Game of Thrones, or a third book.

#20 newmumandexcited

Posted 21 September 2019 - 07:45 PM

I enjoyed it! But that’s probably why it’s no where near as good as the first.

#21 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 21 September 2019 - 08:51 PM

It reads like teenage fiction. I actually wonder if Margaret Atwood actually wrote it.
And for people wondering, no I don't think it will ruin the tv series as there are some big differences in the characters she has written about and the tv series. She has also introduced a group within Gilead's  structure that has not appeared at all in the tv series ( the Pearl girls).

Can I ask when when can we talk indepth and with spoilers? I have quite a bit to talk about but don't want to ruin it for people ( or can we put a spoiler warning on the title or start a new thread?)

#22 laridae

Posted 21 September 2019 - 09:47 PM

I think the pearl girls just don't exist at the time the show is set. It's future stuff - the founding Aunts are making it up as they go along and the show is set in the early days of Gilead (first 5 years or so). The pearl girls start to be created when the aunts are getting older (around 5-10 years later) and they are finding they need new recruits.
I don't see it as a separate alternate ending, so yes, to me it does spoil the show somewhat.

#23 JoanJett

Posted 22 September 2019 - 01:03 PM

View PostKiwi Bicycle, on 21 September 2019 - 08:51 PM, said:

It reads like teenage fiction.

I'm halfway through re-reading Handmaid's Tale after finishing the Testaments, and was again thinking how different and more simple the style is as you point out, but then I realised, given that two plot-lines are narratives from naive teenagers, it kind of makes sense that it reads like teenage fiction in those chapters. But it still feels lacking in character and plot development for them.

I'm still least happy with the other character, because the arc of victim/prisoner/collaborator/hero rings hollow through the history of other actions in the original book and the lack of clear motivation.  I guess it's also because I had hoped that Serena's character in the TV series would travel that path in series 2.  Perhaps it just reflects the complex/compromised decisions people make in dire situations.  

I almost wish she hadn't written it and had just used her consultancy on the TV series to lay it all out.  I'm not sure that money was the only motivator - no doubt the TV show prompted re-thinking and revisiting, and perhaps it was to stake her claim on the outcome, as she doesn't have control over the series.

#24 Kiwi Bicycle

Posted 15 October 2019 - 08:55 AM

And guess what! It was just awarded joint Booker prize. Big controversy as the rules states only one winner but the judges did a sit in and overruled the organisers.
I don't think this book deserved it.

#25 jayskette

Posted 15 October 2019 - 11:51 AM

me neither. i loved reading the book but hardly classic literatulitmaterial let alone the booker

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