Friday, September 6, 2019

Praise Be! ‘The Testaments,’ the Sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ Is Here

By Michiko Kakutani
Cover of Margaret Atwood's sequel to 1985 "The Handmaid's Tale"
The most chilling — and timely — lines in “The Handmaid’s Tale” occur near the beginning of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel. Nothing changes instantaneously, Offred observes: “In a gradually heating bathtub you’d be boiled to death before you knew it.” The main story line in “The Testaments” is a kind of spy thriller about a mole inside Gilead, who is working with the Mayday resistance to help bring down the evil empire. It’s a contrived and heavily stage-managed premise — but contrived in a Dickensian sort of way with coincidences that reverberate with philosophical significance. And Atwood’s sheer assurance as a storyteller makes for a fast, immersive narrative that’s as propulsive as it is melodramatic. [More]