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PUBLISHER: Suntup Editions
EDITION: Artist Edition (Signed by Ken Cunningham)
One of the most chilling cautionary tales of the 20th century, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a tour de force of dystopian fiction.
It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out only once a day to the market, she is not permitted to read and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant; as her very existence is only valued if her ovaries are viable.
Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. Now those days seem far away. For in their wake, the land that was once the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birth rate by reverting to and going beyond the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.
Unpredictable, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is an uncompromising portrait of totalitarianism and institutional misogyny. The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and the various means by which they resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence.
In 2018, Atwood reflected on her process writing The Handmaid’s Tale: “I made a rule for myself. I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist. I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behavior.”
The Handmaid’s Tale won the 1985 Governor General’s Award, and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. It has been adapted into a 1990 film, a 2000 opera, and a 2017 television series.
Published editions may differ slightly from mockups and prototype designs.
Illustrations © 2022 by Ken Cunningham.