No, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Not ‘Unexpectedly Timely’

We are all necessarily prisoners of our own place and time, and thus, I was in my youth necessarily a fan of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I read it; I discussed it very earnestly with like-minded friends; I copied author Margaret Atwood’s muted style and dystopian preoccupations in my own, less competent fiction.

But that youth has fled, alas; it has been two decades since I last waxed indignant about the drinking age, or picked up my copy of the book. Even that copy — paperback, dogeared and waterstained and threatening to come apart at the spine — has been left behind somewhere, presumably the same place I lost my velvet chokers and my Suzanne Vega CDs.

However, a new television show has been made out of the book, and is attracting rave reviews, less for its acting, script, or stunning visuals than for its “unexpectedly timely” message.


According to the fever swamp left we have been living “The Handmaid’s Tale” since every Republican president.

  • Jaedo Drax

    A weird boring novel that doesn’t make sense is being made into a TV show for all the canadian tax credits they can run away with.

  • canminuteman

    I had to read that book in high school english class. Even as a sixteen year old I recognized it as a stupid book.

    • She is ridiculously overrated. If there needs to be a Great Canadian Author (which there doesn’t), Mordecai Richler is worth ten of her on a bad day.

      • By far.

        • If you’ve read Barney’s Version – I’m certain she’s Terry McIver. I can’t find the quote, but it’s something about a person dedicating his life to nursing “a small, unnecessary talent” and ruthlessly riding it to CanLit fam.

          • Waffle
          • richleriano actually became a term for “politically incorrect” in Italy after his last novel came out. He doesn’t fit neatly into any of their categories. I’m sure he wouldn’t have described himself as a conservative, but he might as well have been . He was grudgingly accepted in Canada as a serious literary figure because he was famous abroad.

            Anyway, who the hell wants to “study” books in university? The very thought gives me a headache.

            I didn’t know about the Charles Foran biography, though. I’ll have to read it. Thanks.

      • WalterBannon

        Farley Mowat

        • deplorabledave

          Grey Seas Under, Top of the World Trilogy, great stuff.

    • FactsWillOut

      You must have had a female teacher.
      I got to read “Lord Of The Flies”, and “The Chrysalids”.
      I guess I was lucky, throughout high school, I only had one female teacher. She was a bitch.

      • Millie_Woods

        “The Chrysalids”! Thanks for rekindling a long-forgotten memory. I haven’t thought of that book in 40+ years.

        • FactsWillOut

          You’re welcome.
          I enjoyed it, too, much more than Arther C. Clark’s story along much the same lines called “Childhood’s End”.
          …and let us not forget Whyndam’s “The Dunwich Cukoos”

          • Millie_Woods

            The Dunwich Cukoos sounds interesting. If you read The Chrysalids in school, you must be a late-boomer like myself. I think I was in junior high when I read it or maybe it was grade 10. Anyway it was a long time ago and a good read.

  • FactsWillOut

    Orwell was prophetic because he used modern western totalitarianism as a template.
    Not all dystopias are totalitarian, like Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” or Frederic Pohl’s “Day Million”.
    John Brunner’s “Stand on Zanzibar” and “The Sheep Look Up” are both fairly good dystopian stories, as well.

    Atwood is just a stupid bint.

    • Thanks I will look those up.

      • FactsWillOut

        I cannot recommend John Brunner enough. His dystopias are things of terrible beauty.
        “Meeting at Infinity”, “The Infinitive of Go”, “Age of Miracles”, “To Conquer Chaos”, “The Dramaturges of Yan”, “More Things in Heaven”, and many others by him are excellent reads, IMHO.

      • ontario john

        If your looking for a good read, I just finished Dillon Hillier’s “One Soldier” Great stuff.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    Dystopian fiction seems like a good idea until you try to actually write it, and have that entire world make sense, then it becomes difficult to execute well.
    I never read the book.

  • ontario john

    Socialists like Atwood, still believe that conservative Christians are the biggest evil in the world, while ignoring Islam. Because socialists at heart are always cowards.

  • orthotox

    There are three kinds of Atwood readers: students, who are forced to read her, jounos, who force themselves to read her, and feminists who force Atwood to read patriarchy into everything she writes.
    Critical opinion is still divided on which is the flattest aspect of Ms. Flatwood: her characters, her style, – or her ass!