Interviews, Reviews, and News: Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments

By Marissa Lynch | September 26 2019 | Common ReadsHumanities & Social Sciences

The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, has been called the most anticipated novel of the year. Gilead and the world of the handmaids have inspired a successful TV adaptation, as well as protests against U.S. healthcare restrictions and the controversial confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Awarded the 2019 Booker Prize, The Testaments has been met with praise from literary critics and readers alike. To celebrate Atwood’s latest harrowing yet hopeful tale, we collected some of our favorite interviews, reviews, and news stories below.

 

INTERVIEWS

“I’m very pleased to have shared this prize with Bernadine Evaristo. . . . What these prizes [should] do really is they should open doors for writers. . . . It expands their opportunities and possibilities, not just for the writer but for the reading community as well.”

CBC NEWS, “Margaret Atwood on Booker Prize win, Handmaid’s Tale as a protest symbol”


The Testaments . . . is an answer of a kind to all the questions that readers have been asking me over the years. But it also seemed appropriate in our moment of history when things in a number of countries seem to be going more towards Gilead than away from Gilead.”

TIME, “Let’s Break Down the Most Mysterious Parts of The Testaments, With a Little Help From Margaret Atwood”


“Young women of reproductive age are always in the minority of any society. . . . They feel that they’re on the verge of having decisions made about them, and about their entire future . . . that they have not been able to decide.”

BBC NEWS, “Margaret Atwood says thieves targeted Handmaid’s Tale sequel”

 

REVIEWS

“We know that Gilead men are at best nonentities, at worst monstrous. . . . Mostly, they lurk just outside the frame, threatening to swoop in at any moment to wreak havoc. And that absence only emphasizes that the women of Gilead are more fascinating than ever.”

—NPR, The Testaments Takes Us Back To Gilead For A Fast-Paced, Female-Centered Adventure


“Atwood’s new novel is all about narrative, the written and recorded testimonies of three women . . . Everyone should read The Testaments, and consider the true desires of human nature.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES, Handmaid’s Tale sequel The Testaments puts Margaret Atwood’s powers on full display


“If The Handmaid’s Tale was about one woman desperately trying to reclaim some scrap of agency and largely relying on the mercy of others, The Testaments is a far more empowering story of three women working together to make a difference for themselves and the world.”

AV CLUB, “The Testaments builds on the best and worst parts of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale”

 

NEWS

THE WASHINGTON POST: It’s a tie: Atwood and Evaristo share fiction’s Booker Prize

“[Chairman Peter] Florence said both of the winning books ‘address the world today and give us insights into it and create characters that resonate with us. They also happen to be wonderfully compelling page-turning thrillers.’”


NEWSWEEK: The Real-Life Events that Inspired The Handmaid’s Tale Sequel 

“Atwood’s approach to her first book . . .was that anything included in its pages had happened at some point, somewhere, in history. Though Atwood prefers to leave interpretations up to her readers, . . . we can analyze what might have given Atwood food for thought while writing the sequel. Here are just some of our theories.”


THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: Ann Dowd on Her ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Character’s Shocking Role in ‘The Testaments’: “I Was Thrilled”

“Reading the audiobook—I’d never done one—the profound privilege and pleasure of reading Atwood out loud, and the challenge, may I say, was present, start to finish. . . . The pleasure of stepping into that sense of humor, that dry, beautiful way of thinking and speaking, it was a piece of heaven. It was just fantastic.”