Tuesday, October 08, 2019

THE TESTAMENTS


Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The Testaments, Margaret Atwood, Nan A Talese/Doubleday, 2019, 415 pp
 
I first read Margaret Atwood in 1996. The book was Cat's Eye, her 7th novel published in 1989, the year I turned 42 and she turned 50. Next I read The Robber Bride, then Alias Grace. I found her to be one of the most intelligent authors I'd read and utterly brilliant when it came to females and their relationships with each other as well as with men. I wondered how I could learn to be that intelligent.
 
Now I am 72 and Margaret is almost 80. As I moved towards the end of middle age I had decided that I would navigate my older years seeking wisdom. As always, Margaret Atwood is way ahead of me. From The Handmaid's Tale through to the MaddAddam trilogy, The Heart Goes Last and now The Testaments, her wisdom as well as her wit has just grown and grown.

I loved The Testaments! The characters, the pace, and the reassurance that women can fight oppression at any age with smarts, courage, cooperation and even a touch of evil. Women of three generations inhabit the story. Not all of them are nice people, well perhaps none of them are. It's not always about being nice. Some are good, some are horrible. 

They are united only by an aversion to being under the thumbs of men. Not all men are bad of course, but they easily can become handy with those thumbs as well as other body parts.

Margaret Atwood's wisdom, along with a sharp sense of politics and deep awareness of how human beings act and react, shines through The Testaments on every page. She has said she may be done writing novels. I say she deserves to make that choice. After all, that is one of the things wisdom is for. If she is done, she has left us with a perfect sequel to The Handmaid's Tale.

18 comments:

  1. sounds like an effective book... she's certainly devoted her talents and life to better the lives of women everywhere; i just hope the powers-that-be will listen some time... not to be too negative, but i doubt it... they don't seem to listen to anybody except monster corporations...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. deliver us from the powers-that-be...

      Delete
  2. Glad to read you seemed to enjoy this one; I have the audio waiting for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good! I hope you like it as much as I did.

      Delete
  3. I know a lot of people were worried about this sequel, would it live up to The Handmaid's Tale? I'm so glad that this one does live up to the hype!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, not everyone agrees with me. As far as I am concerned Margaret Atwood needs no hype. She is the real deal.

      Delete
  4. Like many others I am very curious about this book. I think that I will do a reread of the Handmaid’s Tale and read this straight through. I generally think that Atwood’s work is brilliant. If you have not read it, I actually thought that Surfacing was a great novel. I thought that it was even better then The Handmaid’s Tale..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a good plan because you need to remember the characters from Handmaid's Tale to really get The Testaments. I have read all of her novels and intend to reread them. I remember Surfacing well. It hit me hard. The Handmaid's Tale was not my favorite the first time I read it. The second time though I think I understood it much better. It is a groundbreaking novel for its subject matter. No matter what some naysayers say, it DID need a sequel!

      Delete
  5. I'd like Atwood to continue writing more novels, ha! Even at 80, she could go on till 95 with her energy. Glad you liked the sequel; how does it differ? faster, different scope? I was glad you left it nebulous. I will get there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get me wrong; I would love more novels from her! You will get there and you will see.

      Delete
  6. It's in my reading queue. I look forward to reading it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Nice review! I read The Handmaid's Tale decades ago and need to reread it again before reading The Testaments. Glad you enjoyed The Testaments.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa! Yes, if I had not reread Handmaid's Tale recently for a reading group, I would have not remembered enough.

      Delete
  8. You are perhaps aware that Margaret Atwood recently lost her companion of many years, Graeme Gibson. They were by all accounts devoted to each other and I am sure that her loss is deeply felt. As an author, at her best, she is perhaps as good as any. And as a person she always strikes me as being surpassingly decent too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am aware of that news. It is very sad. Apparently, from the obit I read, it was not unexpected but in fact planned but of course because they were so devoted, it had to be a loss of magnitude as well. I agree with your feelings about Margaret Atwood.

      Delete
  9. I'm on the list for this from the library - looking forward to it. Cheers

    ReplyDelete