First published: 1985 | Takes place: Unspecified
By the turn of the millennium, the People's Republic of Cambridge has become the theocratic Republic of Gilead, where men are men and women are either infertile wives or nameless babymakers. Titular handmaid Offred, when not being involuntary inseminated, waddles around Gilead in a red habit and a white winged quasi-wimple.

Harvard Square is a lot less fun these days. Young men in fascist uniforms shoot you for any suspected indiscretion. The Brattle's gone, replaced by a store where women — now basically chattel ever since an infertility crisis paved the way for a fundie takeover — order dresses color-coded to their rank. All the other boutiques have been shut down. The best store is called Soul Scrolls, a chain where prayers are printed out and recited by a mechanized system something like a player piano. There aren't any printed signs, since women are forbidden to read.

First Parish Church is a Puritan museum. Harvard has been repurposed as a nightmare government complex. Mass executions take place in the football stadium and on the library steps. The wall around Harvard Yard is outfitted with sentries, floodlights, and barbed wire; bodies of the executed hang from hooks. Inside, the lecture halls house the Gilead secret police, called Eyes.

On the upside, the sidewalks are much cleaner than they used to be.


<< first  ...< prev  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  |  7  |  8  |  9  |  10  |  11  |   next >...  last >>

6 of 12 (results 12)
Related: Review: Per Petterson plumbs The River of Time, Fall Books Preview: Getting booked, Fall Books Preview: Reading list, More more >
  Topics: Books , Science Fiction, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   MICHAUD FOR GOVERNOR  |  November 03, 2014
    However you’ve been following the race for Governor this election season, you’ve been hearing it from all sides, so we’ll make this one brief. We urge you to vote for Michael Michaud.
  •   ADVANCED BEAUTY LESSONS  |  November 03, 2014
    Described as a “body-positive visibility project,” Portland’s Jack Tar 207 is all about representation. Models are encouraged to bring their own clothing and personal belongings to the shoot, which owner-designer LK Weiss says brings out “a level of confidence that many people don’t feel in front of a camera.”
  •   LITERALLY LGBT  |  October 31, 2014
    A community-compiled list of important GBLTQ works through the years.  
  •   DEAR PROVIDENCE PHOENIX...  |  October 15, 2014
    Some made us chuckle, others made us choke up.
  •   BACK TO REALITY  |  September 18, 2014
    If you’re a student in southern Maine and are at all interested in arts and humanities, and have a budget of exactly $10 to spend on any one event, there’s a lot in your favor.

 See all articles by: PHOENIX STAFF