The Guardian

Margaret Atwood’s new work is full of feminist hope. But don’t dumb it down | Natasha Walter

The Testaments gives a vivid portrait of female resistance. But we should beware seeing women as merely angels or victims
‘In Gilead there is a great deal of moral certainty.’ Margaret Atwood at the launch of The Testaments in London, September 2019. Photograph: Vianney Le Caer/Rex/Shutterstock

In these dark and difficult political times, I often find myself craving clarity, looking for explanations and reassurances – and rarely, if ever, finding what I seek. When I got my hands on a precious copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments a couple of days ago I was surprised by the almost physical hunger I felt to step back into Gilead. Obviously, I’m not alone, and one reason why this dystopia has hit the spot for many of us is its clarity. I’m not saying that there isn’t complexity of plot in Atwood’s creation, but in Gilead there is also a great deal of moral certainty. There is good, and there is evil. There is oppression, and there is resistance.

The appearance of has put heart into me at various protests over the past couple of years. I have photographed them

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