(1985; Houghton Mifflin 1986; Fawcett 1986). The book was shortlisted for a Retrospective Tiptree Award, won the 1st annual Arthur C. Clarke award in England, nominated for Nebula, Best Novel and shortlisted for the Booker Prize.
The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood, is a dystopian tale of life in the Republic of Gilead, The Republic of Gilead is based on a patriarchal Old Testament life-style. In this world women are no longer allowed to read or write, especially not the bible. The book was writen in the 1980's with the resurgence of the (Christian) Religious Right and the Moral Majority during the Reagan/Thatcher era. This book explores the issues of women's right to control her body, religious bigotry, racism, and portrays a chilling view of life under a fundamentalist theocracy.
The story is told from the point of view of Offred, one of the many Handmaids who are valued only for the chance that in a time of declining male virility they may produce children (note the inspiration for the handmaids comes from the stories of various biblical matriarchs such as Sarah or Rachel who followed the practice of sending a maid or slave to bear children in their place when they proved infertile.)