Margaret Atwood

In the world of the near future, who will control women's bodies? Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are only valued if their ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the days before, when she lived and made love with her husband Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge but all of that is gone now. Funny, unexpected, horrifying, and altogether convincing, Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, a finalist for the 1986 Man Booker Prize, is at once scathing satire, dire warning, and tour de force.

Atwood's books have been published in more 40 countries. She is the author of more than 50 volumes of poetry, children's literature, fiction and nonfiction and is perhaps best known for her novels. In addition to The Handmaid's Tale, her novels include Cat's Eye, shortlisted for the Booker Prize; Alias Grace, which won the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the 2000 Booker Prize; Oryx and Crake, shortlisted for the 2003 Booker Prize; and, most recently, The Year of the Flood. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.