Sunday, October 13, 2019

Book Report: "The Testaments"

The TestamentsThe Testaments by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thirty-four years and three seasons of the pop culture-dominating Hulu series after her seminal feminist dystopian saga was released, Margaret Atwood returns to the franchise with youthful vigor.

Ignoring the canon that developed in the series, Atwood leaps ahead several decades to tell the definitive tale of the fall of Gilead through a compilation of historical documents. It would spoil things to give away the identities of most of the narrators, but it doesn't vie anything away to reveal that the driving force behind the story is Aunt Lydia.

A sinister, domineering force of dominating invasiveness, Lydia's acid-dipped observations and spider-like cunning spins a web of a plot that permeates the story.

Atwood keeps the narrative varied and agile, introducing plotlines through differing perspectives of various characters, coaxing the reader to piece together a sense of what's happening by deducing a reliable throughline.

As is the case with "The Handmaid's Tale," Atwood peppers her story with fevered, poignant observations about social and gender dynamics, as well as the dangers of mob politics and cults of personality.

A thoroughly satisfying and relentlessly challenging wrap-up to the saga, Atwood's novel is a triumphant storming of the Gilead gates.

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