Canadian poet and author of fiction, children’s fiction and best-selling novels, Margaret Atwood is most recently best known as the creator of The Handmaid’s Tale – original book published in 1983 and transformed in the popular Hulu TV series (2017 – present) of the same name. She is deeply involved in the development of the series and even made a cameo appearance in an episode.
Ms Atwood says the book, the movie, the series follow one axiom: “You can’t put anything in that doesn’t have a precedent in human history”. Her sequel, The Testaments will hit bookstores today. She wrote The Testaments for two reasons: one because people kept asking questions about the ending of her book The Handmaid’s Tale; and two because she sees women’s rights under threat.
For those of you who have not yet read the book or seen the TV series, the Handmaid’s Tale story is that of a young wife and mother caught up in the dystopian Republic of Gilead – formerly the United States. When environmental toxins made most of the population infertile, right-wing religious extremists created a state wherein fertile women by law became ‘baby machines’ each serving the head of a totalitarian household. Some have found the series slow-moving, but for three seasons I have been riveted to my livingroom chair. There have been times when I have been enthralled and moments I’ve had to look away from horrific scenes, but I thirst for the next season.
Although Margaret Atwood says that Trump is not a Gileadian figure, she does say, “We are probably close to it in some States”. She says there are other figures in the United States and around the world who want to rollback women’s rights. She also said that in 1999 she wouldn’t have bothered to write a sequel, but now it’s time to bother. I guess so: Protesters have dressed in Handmaid’s Tale garb to protest numerous women’s rights issues, most recently the abortion law in Alabama.
Gee, I wonder how many American Republicans, Canadian Conservatives and right-wing politicians world wide have read The Handmaid’s Tale or will read The Testaments. I would bet not.