Like a latent illness, The Handmaid’s Tale was introduced to the general public in 1986, but has been waiting until 2017 to blossom to its full potency. As with all effective science fiction, the novel's imagined future provides a lens through which we can reconsider our present. And through the distorted, misogynistic looking glass of The Handmaid’s Tale, our present isn’t looking too pretty.
The dystopian novel, written by the incomparable, prolific Margaret Atwood, envisions an America utterly altered by a religious coup. Offred, once a woman with a husband and child, now works as a handmaid: someone who bears the children of high-ranking officials. As Offred navigates the new social order in the Republic of Gilead, which pits women against women and executes any dissidents, she desperately fights to hold on to the woman she was before.
The first series of The Handmaid's Tale is shown on Channel 4 on Sundays at 9pm.