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Beyond ‘The Testaments’: Margaret Atwood Books That Need Space On Your Bookshelf

ET Online|
​The Magic Of Words
1/5

​The Magic Of Words

Margaret Atwood has had an eventful year. The Canadian author, who turns 80 today, won her second Booker prize (which she shared with British writer Bernardine Evaristo) for the critically-acclaimed 'The Testaments' - a sequel to 'The Handmaid's Tale'. The novel, set 15 years after the events of the original - which is now an award-winning show, was published 34 years since the Atwood wrote the book.

Shortly after winning the Booker Prize, Atwood added another feather in her cap, receiving an Order of the Companions of Honor from Queen Elizabeth II, for her services to literature.

And 'The Testaments' has also been named Amazon's Best Book of 2019.

While the author has been making headlines for her recent achievements, she has to her credit over fifty books ranging from fiction and poetry, to graphic novels and essays, that demand a space on your bookshelf.

Here are a few of our picks to help you navigate Atwood's vast repertoire of work.

Agencies
​'The Handmaid's Tale'
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​'The Handmaid's Tale'

Atwood's masterpiece, published in 1985, narrates the story of a dystopian world seen through the eyes of Offred, the protagonist. Set in Gilead - an imagined, totalitarian society, the book - as Atwood has said on multiple occasions - is a fictional story but the terrifying incidents depicted in it have all been inspired by real-life events from around the world.

From puritanism to Ceausescu's communist reign in Romania and the diminishing female rights and the fight against it in 1980s America, the author kept newspaper clippings of dark events that formed the background material for her book.

Originally titled Offred before Atwood changed the name, the book - that was nominated for the Booker Prize - has since been adapted into an award-winning show, a film in 1990, an opera in Boston, and a ballet by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

It is the shocking semblance that the story has with today's world (with women losing reproductive freedom), forming an allegory of the political system and rights that make it relevant even 35 years later.

Agencies
​'The Blind Assassin'
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​'The Blind Assassin'

Published in 2000, Atwood's 10th book won the author her first Booker prize. The book follows two sisters, Laura and Iris, with the former dead at the start of the book, but also woven within the story is a novel penned by Laura.

In this compelling book, Atwood surpasses the family drama to create a complex story that has elements of pulp sci-fi, murder-mystery, and romance all tied in.

Agencies
‘Alias Grace’
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‘Alias Grace’

Atwood's 1996 captivating novel is based on a true story of a murder, telling the tale of a woman accussed of killing her employer and mistress.

The book, now a 6-part Netflix mini-series, follows Grace Marks in 1843, when she has been convicted for double murders. In an effort to find the answer to the question of whether she is guilty or innocent, Grace - who claims to have no recollection of the incident - is met by a mental illness expert along with others who believe she should be pardoned. A gripping read, 'Alias Grace' is definitely meant to find space on your list, regardless of whether it does so before or after you binge-watch the show.

Agencies
​'Hag-Seed'
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​'Hag-Seed'

In her 2016 novel, the author tackles Shakespeare’s 'The Tempest' in a modern world. The book was part of the Hogarth Shakespeare initiative, that saw authors reinterpret some of Shakespeare’s most iconic works.

In her version, Atwood sets the story in Canada, and makes the Bard's Prospero her Felix. Living life as an artistic director of a theater festival, Felix is matched by Tony, a version of Antonio.

It's a treat for Shakespeare fans as well as Atwood's, with the author adding contemporary culture to the original tale.

Agencies
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Copyright © 2019 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service