‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood

My rating: 3 stars

To describe a book as a page-turner is usually a compliment. The Testaments by Margaret Atwood has that gripping power of highly compelling reads, but it lacks emotion, details and character exploration. Set in the same fictional world as The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s nowhere near as affecting as its predecessor. Although it offers interesting insights about the inception and disintegration of Gilead, the prose is not poignant enough and the plot is too predictable.

The story is told from three different points of view – Aunt Lydia, Agnes Jemima and Daisy. Secretly, at the Ardua Hall’s library, Aunt Lydia, who was introduced in The Handmaid’s Tale, decided to write about her role within Gilead and her memories concerning the inception of the regime. Before the establishment of Gilead, she had been a family court judge. She recalled how her life quickly changed afterwards. What she had to endure was brutal. But now she was a crucial element within that repressive and puritanical state, which divided society into very defined roles. Her importance was such that nine years before, she had been given a statue.

Agnes Jemima is a girl who grew up in Gilead. The man whom she believed to be her father was a Commander. Readers are aware from the very beginning that he is not her biological father, though, since the woman whom she thought was her mother, Tabitha, used to say that she chose her as her daughter. After Tabitha’s death, when Agnes was around nine years old, her father married another woman, Paula, and a Handmaid was brought into the house, which meant that they wanted to have a child. This was when Agnes discovered that the people she had always called mother and father weren’t really her parents. Her real mother had tried to take her across the border to Canada, but they were caught. Continue reading

Books I’m Waiting for in Paperback

Unless I’ve been impatiently and fervently expecting a book for years, I always tend to wait for the release in paperback. They are cheaper, much easier to hold and carry around. This also means that I tend to read the majority of books when the hype has already subsided. There are four books that I have been seeing mentioned around a lot lately and that I’m planning to read as soon as the editions in paperback are released.

 

The Confession by Jessie Burton

Since I loved both The Miniaturist and The Muse, I obviously want to read The Confession, Jessie Burton’s new novel. My expectations are not as high as they could have been, though, as part of the book takes place in LA, a location that usually doesn’t appeal to me.

On the other hand, it is set in different time periods, something I tend to enjoy. In the 1980s, Elise Morceau falls in love with Constance Holden, a successful writer whose book is about to be adapted into a Hollywood film. Thirty years later, Rose Simmons is looking for answers about her mother, whom she has never met. The last person to see her was Constance. Continue reading