Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most popular dystopian novels of the last few decades. Looking at a bleak world where women are stripped of their autonomy, it has inspired a movie adaptation as well as Hulu’s much lauded series. Now Atwood herself is returning to the world of Gilead in a sequel to the 1985 novel, currently entitled The Testaments.
The book is set to take place years after the events of the first book, and will be narrated by three different female characters. Whether one of those characters is the original protagonist, a woman we only know as Offred, is unknown at this time. The book will not be connected in any way to the plot of the TV series.
“Dear Readers, everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in,” said Atwood in a press release on the new book.
The Handmaid’s Tale has become one of the most prominent books in this political climate where women across the world feel as though their rights and their voices are being taken away. Many have done the iconic red robes and white hoods in protests to denote their lack of freedom. But many fans of the original wonder if a sequel is really necessary, given how poignant and relevant the book already is. While I understand where they are coming from, I think Atwood’s more than got the chops to make this work and there’s a lot of new things to say, given the way things are turning out. Besides, we might get an answer to two of the book’s biggest questions: did Offred escape? And how did Gilead finally fall?
The Testaments will be available in all major book stores sometime in September 2019.