Margaret Atwood Will Write A Sequel To Her Novel 'The Handmaid’s Tale'

Blessed be the fruit! With reality increasingly resembling fiction, the novelist picks up the thread of the story thirty three years after creating Gilead. 

It was Margaret Atwood herself who made the announcement on Twitter, accompanied by a rather anxiety-inducing teaser. She is currently working on a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, entitled The Testaments, which will be set fifteen years after the events of the first novel, released in 1985. 

We also learn that the story will be narrated by three female characters, and that it won't be linked to the series (Season 2 of which already diverged from the original material). The release of the new novel is scheduled for September 2019, almost two years after the #MeToo movement began.

"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." 

The series created by Bruce Miller for the Hulu platform gave a modern-day spin to the chilling tale of a United States divided into castes, in which women's value depends on their ability to bear children. Launched in April 2017, several months before the Weinstein affair, the series has echoed reality for two seasons now, like a nightmarish vision of what could await us should we fail to take action. Margaret Atwood's novel, written thirty three years ago, now seems rather prophetic. 

Of course, it's no coincidence that this sequel is set for release at a key moment in the history of women's rights. Although women's voices have never been heard as much as they are now, their freedoms are also threatened on a daily basis. And with every week that passes and every news bulletin we watch, we ask whether we're actually heading slowly but surely for the totalitarian, misogynist world of Gilead. 

With sexual predators frequently released with nothing more than a slap on the wrist, and Trump's America seriously considering the death penalty for women who abort after six weeks of pregnancy, the sequel to the dystopian The Handmaid’s Tale looks likely to have a bitter aftertaste…

By Delphine Rivet, published on 29/11/2018