Our book group, which has been meeting once a month for the past ten years with pretty much the same members, has just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale, by Canadian author, Margaret Atwood.
It’s a piece of speculative fiction (not quite sci-fi but more what if?) that explores a society where those with power and money in the US have overthrown the government and have installed a very draconian, old testament set of rules for living. Lots of things are outlawed for the general populace, including reading, and choosing who you live with, and choosing who you have a baby with. But the ruling class members appear to be infertile. So they have enslaved women who are able to conceive and carry babies to birth, let the women deliver the child, and then promptly take the babies away from the birth mother to raise themselves.
Severely disturbing, but nevertheless we had a far reaching and vigorous discussion, which is what you want from a book group.
I wish we had been aware of this new illustrated edition of the book, when we were discussing it. Published by The Folio Society, the portrayal of the characters and certain scenes in the novel really bring it to life. The Folio Society has been producing illustrated versions of classics since 1947. Although I like the convenience of e-books, I also love the tactile experience of reading on paper, and think the quality and production values of these look amazing. Can’t we have both?