My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This book reminded me a lot of Oryx and Crake (and the rest of that trilogy). It is an early (1986) work and is a tale of a dystopian future world, a place called Gilead, but is a sly commentary on the world as it was going along at the time the book was written. As I was reading I couldn't figure out how Atwood was going to conclude her tale given the perspective of her narrator but she (as usual) came up with a clever way to wrap up the novel. I like the way Atwood takes ordinary things and turns them around in her poetic writing, looking at them from different angles.
"Night falls. Or has fallen. Why is it that night falls, instead of rising, like the dawn? Yet if you look east, at sunset, you can see night rising, not falling: darkness lifting into the sky, up from the horizon, like a black sun behind cloud cover. Like smoke from an unseen fire, a line of fire just below the horizon, brushfire or a burning city. Maybe night falls because it's heavy, a thick curtain pulled up over the eyes. Wool blanker. I wish I could see in the dark better than I do. Night has fallen, then. I feel it pressing down on me like a stone." (p. 191)Atwood lives in Canada, so this book counts toward the Canadian Book Challenge. There are also points in the story where Gilead is compared (unfavorably) to Canada.