Just in time for the release of the much-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Canadian author Margaret Atwood will be in Victoria to discuss the new book with local fans.
Atwood’s long-awaited sequel, The Testaments, follows the Hulu adaptation of her 1985 novel, the Handmaid’s Tale, which depicts a dystopian future where a totalitarian, patriarchal state comes into power after overthrowing the American Government.
The “Sons of Jacob,” a religious fundamentalist group, relegates women to specific roles including Marthas (cooks and maids), commander’s wives’ (those married to society’s powerful men) and handmaids (child-bearing women).
The Handmaid’s Tale follows the story of Offred, a handmaid who suffers deeply under the new regime, and fights back against its patriarchal leaders.
Atwood’s sequel comes to readers this September, 34 years after the first novel was released.
“I think it’s going to be one of the big books of the fall for sure,” said Jessica Walker, co-owner of Victoria-based Munro’s Books. “[The Handmaid’s Tale] has so many things that align with current politicial events in the world.”
Walker noted that Atwood was in Victoria in 2013 after the release of MaddAddam – the final novel in the author’s dystopian Oryx and Crake triology – and the event sold out.
“Atwood has been such an open commentator … and so smart and funny that people really enjoy hearing her take on things,” Walker said. “Despite being primarily known as a novelist, she is also a great social commentator.”
Walker said the story of the Handmaid’s Tale was reinvigorated by the Hulu adaption, but noted that the book resonated with women when it was released in the 80s’, and still resonates with herself and other young readers today.
“A full generation later, people are so invested in the story.”
Margaret Atwood will be in Victoria Sept. 27 at the University of Victoria’s University Centre Farquhar Auditorium at 8 p.m.
The event is put on by PenguinRandomHouse in partnership with Munro’s Books. Tickets for an evening with Margaret Atwood are scheduled to go online in June and will be available at munrobooks.com.