Margaret Atwood, the author of the critically acclaimed book-turned-television series The Handmaid’s Tale, is writing a sequel to the her novel, that she says is inspired by the state of the modern world. The sequel, to be titled The Testaments, will be published on September 10, 2019.
In a message posted on Twitter, Atwood wrote: “Dear Readers, everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”
Atwood said in her Twitter message that the sequel would be set 15 years after the end of the original book and will be narrated by three female characters. The book will be the 79-year-old’s first novel since the Shakespeare-inspired Hag-Seed was published in 2016, according to the BBC.
The critically acclaimed Hulu Original series has already gone beyond the parameters of Atwood’s original novel, so it will be interesting to see if Atwood sticks to any of the story in the second season, or if the book will be completely separate.
For those who need a refresher of the series, check out a recap below. Warning: the rest of this article contains spoilers.
Set in the future, dystopian world of “Gilead,” which has replaced the former United States, violent religious extremists have stripped women of their rights and imposed a male-dominated dictatorship, rounding up women and forcing them in to a life of sexual servitude and surrogacy. After an unknown disaster has left most of the population sterile, the few remaining fertile women are captured and given to high-ranking, powerful men as “handmaid’s” to bear their children.
The handmaids are brainwashed and beaten, forced in to a life of ritualistic rape each month when they are ovulating, and any child that they bear is immediately taken away to be raised by the household patriarch and his barren wife. The monthly “ceremony” involves the handmaid lying in the lap of the Commander’s wife, her arms pinned down while the Commander rapes her. The Commander reads a passage from the Old Testament in King James Bible to justify his actions, citing Genesis 30:1 – “And she said, behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.”
The second season goes beyond Atwood’s interpretation of Gilead and what happens following the series of events at the end of the first book. Atwood never released a follow-up to the novel, so fans were left wondering what happened to Offred until Hulu picked up the show. Now, fans will have answers, straight from their beloved author, about what came next for the women of Gilead.
Keep an eye out for The Testament next September.
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