Book tip: "The Testaments"
I had to get over the fact that "Testaments" feels unlike "The Handmaid's Tale." It goes beyond the fact that it centers on different characters. It has to do with the writing style in the sequel, which feels more traditional; one of the things that was so striking about "Handmaid's Tale" was the way Atwood captured Offred's woozy struggle with memory, reality and self while trapped in a Kafkaesque world. Once I made peace with those differences, I grew to like "Testaments" more and more. It shuttles between several viewpoints, among women who try to undermine the oppressive patriarchy of Gilead — a teen in Gilead who escapes marrying a dangerous Commander; a rebellious teen in Canada who eventually goes on a mission into Gilead; and Aunt Lydia, whom Atwood casts in a slightly new light this time around. Lydia is secretly cataloging in writing the sins of the Gilead leadership. There are some surprises to be had, as Atwood ratchets up the tension.
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