READ: "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
After Trump was elected president, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel rose to the top of Amazon's bestseller list. Although Trump's grab-'em-by-the-pussy attitude toward women doesn't exactly align with the Puritanical views of the men in Atwood's novel, many male G.O.P. members do have antiquated notions of gender roles that they attempt to justify with their religious beliefs (see: Ted Cruz and Mike Pence). Given the current political climate, it's not surprising that "The Handmaid's Tale," a novel in which women are divided into social classes according to the viability of their reproductive organs, is resonating with readers in 2017, a time when women's reproductive rights are still up for debate.
WATCH: "The Handmaid's Tale" on Hulu
There aren't many adjectives I can use to describe Hulu's adaption of "The Handmaid's Tale" that haven't already been used. The New York Times described the series as "unflinching, vital and scary as hell." NPR called it "compelling -- and chilling." The Verge described it as "a chilling expansion on Margaret Atwood's novel." Variety called it "an upsetting, immersive and horrifyingly beautiful vision of a too close dystopian world." In short, it's must-watch television with a poignant political message: never become complacent.
LISTEN: The New Yorker Radio Hour Episode 78
In this episode of The New Yorker Radio Hour, Margaret Atwood talks about her classic novel, her views on Trump and her wariness about being labeled a feminist. When Atwood describes the process of writing "The Handmaid's Tale," she explains, "I was reflecting the world, I wasn't thinking it up, and to that extent, I think it's cathartic to write about those things that are real and put them out there." The revelation that realism played a significant role in the creation of the novel struck me as incredibly important. After all, Gilead doesn't feel like a faraway fictional place when headlines like 13 Men, and No Women, Are Writing G.O.P. Health Bill in Senate and Trump Administration Memo Calls for Ending Michelle Obama's Girl's Education Program are making the news in 2017.