Margaret Atwood turns 80 on 18th November and we’re celebrating – and not just the phenomenal success of The Testaments this year and the rise and rise of The Handmaid’s Tale, but her whole career as a cultural icon and visionary. So we’ve teamed up with Virago to bring you a must-have bundle of her best-loved books. We have one bundle of all 6 books to give away and to make it extra-special, the copy of The Testaments will be a signed first edition. Here they are, in order of publication...
The Handmaid’s Tale (1985) Need we say more? The dystopian novel whose terrifying events all have a precedent somewhere in the world has become a defining novel of our age and the inspiration for the hit TV series starring Elisabeth Moss.
Cat’s Eye (1989) The book on what it’s like to be a teenage girl. Elaine Risley, a painter, returns to Toronto to find herself overwhelmed by her past. Memories of childhood – unbearable betrayals and cruelties – surface relentlessly, forcing her to confront the spectre of Cordelia, once her best friend and tormentor, who has haunted her for forty years.
The Robber Bride (1993) Zenia is beautiful, smart and greedy, by turns manipulative and vulnerable, needy and ruthless. She is also dead. Just to make sure Tony, Roz and Charis are there for the funeral. But five years on, as the three women share an indulgent, sisterly lunch, the unthinkable happens; ‘with waves of ill will flowing out of her like cosmic radiation’, Zenia is back...
Alias Grace (1996) Grace Marks. Female fiend? Femme fatale? Or weak and unwilling victim? Around the true story of one of the most enigmatic and notorious women of the 1840s, Margaret Atwood has created an extraordinarily potent tale of sexuality, cruelty and mystery.
The Blind Assassin (2000) A novel within a novel, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama.
The Testaments (2019) Published 34 years after The Handmaid’s Tale and set more than 15 years after Offred goes off to her uncertain fate, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power. But The Testaments reveals signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
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** SUNDAY TIMES NO. 1 BESTSELLER **
BOOK OF THE YEAR: Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Stylist, Sunday Times, Financial Times, Guardian, The Times, Observer, Red
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian masterpiece, The Handmaid’s Tale, is a modern classic. Now she brings the iconic story to a dramatic conclusion in this riveting sequel.
More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within. At this crucial moment, the lives of three radically different women converge, with potentially explosive results.
Two have grown up as part of the first generation to come of age in the new order. The testimonies of these two young women are joined by a third voice: a woman who wields power through the ruthless accumulation and deployment of secrets.
As Atwood unfolds The Testaments, she opens up the innermost workings of Gilead as each woman is forced to come to terms with who she is, and how far she will go for what she believes.
‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.' Margaret Atwood