The Handmaid's Tale
by Margaret Atwood
We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)
(6) Tree Line
- Tricky narrative structure? Check.
- Lead character who may or may not be lying? Check.
- Lots of characters going by fake names or no names at all? Check.
- Uncomfortable subject matter? Check.
- Absence of quotation marks during dialogue? Check.
- Ambiguous ending? Check.
- Compulsive readability? Oh yeah, that too.
While The Handmaid's Tale isn't James Joyce's Ulysses, it's still a pretty complicated book. It's going to be tough for anyone squeamish about infertility or tricky narrative structure, and it asks readers to commit to a world all the more frightening because it resembles our own. It's a gnarly ride, but we think it's worth it.