Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale Takes On New Resonance

February 1, 2017

The Handmaid's TaleSeveral signs referencing Margaret Atwood’s classic dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, appeared at the recent Women’s March in Washington, The Washington Post reports.

“There were a honking huge number of them,” Atwood said of the images of protestors with signs that referenced her book, which was published thirty-two years ago.

The Handmaid’s Tale tells the story of a totalitarian regime that strips women of their rights. Atwood believes the book may be resonating with readers who see echoes in the current administration’s goal to restrict access to reproductive rights.

Sales of the book, too, have been climbing. In 2016, sales of Atwood’s book were up thirty percent over 2015, and over the last three months, Atwood’s publisher has reprinted 100,000 copies to meet the increased demand since the election of Donald Trump.

Other classic dystopian novels, such as Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Sinclair Lewis’s It Can’t Happen Here, have also been on Amazon’s bestseller list over the last couple weeks.

“Many of these books are becoming more important to the average American reader because they want to know what’s next, because we’ve never been through this before,” said novelist Gary Shteyngart, author of the dystopian novel Super Sad True Love Story, to the Post. “Language is being used to destabilize people’s perception of reality, and that’s very new to this country.”

Related reading: Literary Hub has posted a list of eleven memoirs by American radicals of the 20th century, and Scoundrel Time is a new journal of resistance to the current political moment.


Image Credit: Anchor Books.

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