Later this month, Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale ― which has become a staple of high school curriculums ― will be released as a TV adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss and Alexis Bledel. Like the book, the show promises to shed light on how power structures can work to oppress women, and the powerful rhetoric of religious fundamentalism.
These ideas are navigated by Offred, the story’s heroine, who must work as a surrogate to a couple struggling with fertility. In Atwood’s original story, we learn by the end that the story’s narration is actually a found recording, made by Offred and later studied later by an archivist at Cambridge named Professor Pieixoto.
It’s Pieixoto who delivers the book’s last lines, which sum up the heroine’s tragic story with an intentionally glib sort of distance. “Are there any questions?” he asks.
Today, The Washington Post reports that a new audiobook version of the story goes beyond Pieixoto’s conclusion, recording the fictional audience’s questions about the likelihood of tyranny recurring in their own society.
This scene was written by Atwood, who’s been vocal about her story’s relevance to today’s political climate. In a letter distributed by PEN/America, she warned readers against “dictators of any kind.”
Soon, that message will be trumpeted to an even broader audience, as the story makes its way to the screen. Check out a sample of the Audible update below: