Margaret Atwood who rose to fame with her 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tales finally unveiled the sequel of her book on Tuesday, September 10, in London. Hundreds of fans gathered as the 79-year old novelist read the excerpts from her book The Testament.
Based on an era 15 years after The Handmaid’s Tales, the story revolves around fictional country Gilead (a reference for the U.S) where the few remaining fertile women are forced into reproductive services to save the humanity. The last time Margaret’s book came out it became an emblem of 80s struggle of feminism, and this time around the author feels the preemptive need is similar.
“For years and years people were saying will there be a sequel, please write a sequel, tell us what happened, and I always said I can’t do that,” said Margaret as she spoke to BBC, post the book launch.
“But then a couple of things happened. Instead of going away from Gilead as I thought had been happening in the 1990s, we started going back towards Gilead in a number of places in the world including the United States,” added the writer whose 1985 book was adapted into a television series in 2017.
The television show not only reclaimed the past glory of The Handmaid’s Tales but also became a highly relatable subject for the feminists of the new world order.
“It’s very accurate with what’s going (on) at the moment, where the world is heading and that’s kind of scary,” said 27-year-old Melisa Kumas, present at the book launch.
The Testaments has already made it to English language’s most prestigious book award Booker Prize 2019, and had become a talk of the town right before its official release.
“Thirty-five years is a long time to think about possible answers, and the answers have changed as society itself has changed,” wrote Margaret in the novel’s acknowledgments as she set the premise for a totalitarian society.