Margaret Atwood Live in Conversation: A review

Margaret Atwood Live in Conversation: A review

This is our review of Margaret Atwood Live In Conversation.

When I heard about this event and the publication of The Testaments, I was so excited. I immediately looked to see where Margaret Atwood was speaking and what date so I could see if I was working or not. I was off but then I realised I wasn’t sure if I wanted to leave my little baby boy overnight, so I downgraded and decided to just watch it live in my local Odeon cinema.

I am sure I have mentioned many times that The Handmaid’s Tale is my favourite book and Margaret Atwood is my favourite author. When I first finished The Handmaid’s Tale, I don’t think I had ever so many questions about it but as time went on and I began to reread it I started to wonder about certain things.

What happened after? How did Gilead form and how did the Aunts come into being? The Testaments answers that question and so many more.

Whilst I was in my local Odeon waiting for Margaret Atwood Live in Conversation to start, I was looking at the pictures of the audience gathering in the theatre with their copies of the book and felt a bit envious. The screen flashed intermittently with copies of The Handmaid’s Tale in various languages and pictures of Margaret Atwood over the years.

The Testaments book launch was unique because it was the first to broadcast live in such a way to avid readers around the world.

Samira Ahmed interviewed her and began speaking about the pictures of Atwood that had been shown in the beginning. They were to be included in an upcoming documentary about Atwood called A Word After A Word After Word is Power.

One of the things spoken about during the interview was whether The Handmaid’s Tale and the MadAddam trilogy were set in the same place as they share some common themes and downfalls. Atwood said, “They are different parts of the map but the same map.”

During the interview Atwood was as usual engaging, witty and humorous. She spoke about how people had asked her over the years if she would write a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale and she had always said no because she felt like she had told Offred’s Tale. Over the years though events had occurred which made her think about Gilead, how it formed and how its downfall was brought about. In this way The Testaments began to take shape.

The conversation between Ahmed and Atwood flowed in particular with regards to Atwood’s views on politics in America – from the Bush administration to the way Hilary Clinton was treated and then of course Donald Trump.

In an interview for Channel Four she said she must be the only beneficiary of Donald Trump’s election.

She said in the same interview that after 9/11 and the financial crash people were scared and when people are scared other people appear who say I can make you safer.

She discussed the restrictions being placed on women’s reproductive rights in certain American states and also the #metoo movement and the use of Handmaid’s by protestors.

They also spoke about the way in which Atwood only uses real things in her novel that have been done to women both historically and in contemporary society. She has continued to use this rule during The Testaments because she doesn’t want to be asked why she is so sick and twisted to invent something like that.

The actresses who read extracts during the live interview brought the book to life and made me even more excited to read The Testaments. My review of this book is to follow shortly.

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