With rumours of a new Atwood spin-off afoot, the time is ripe to immerse yourself in some of her best-loved works of fiction, if you haven’t already. To ease the burden of choice that Atwood’s enormous oeuvre occasions, Wanted has compiled an Atwood-specific shortlist: this selection of her works is by no means exhaustive, but it’s as good a place as any to begin.
THE EDIBLE WOMAN (1969)
A strange and wonderful proto-feminist allegory, The Edible Woman was Atwood’s first published novel, and features a generic but ultimately formidable heroine who begins to identify with her food, and must weather an (edifying) period of starvation. It is of course slightly dated, given that it’s product of the incipient feminism of the 1960s and encumbered with all the flaws that paradigm promotes; but it is also a preview of Atwood’s ongoing preoccupation with gender roles, and an excellent expression of the timeless conflict between compliance and selfhood.
THE MADDADDAM TRILOGY (2003-2013)
This trinity might be the next Atwood adaptation, as there are rumors that a project by Paramount Television and Anonymous Content is in the works. A saga ten years in the making, the series comprises Oryx and Crake (2003), The Year of the Flood, and the eponymous Maddaddam (2013), and narrates various accounts of the aftermath of a devastating biological disaster. The trilogy is a compelling commentary on state-sanctioned greed, class infrastructure, and the double-edged potency of human ingenuity.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE (1985)
The novel responsible for Atwood's resurgent popularity, The Handmaid's Tale has been the favourite of Instagram 'bookclubs' for over a year now, and is fast accruing the the status of a feminist classic. Set in a futuristic monotheocracy, The Handmaid's Tale converges around the lives of the deeply repressed handmaids responsible for repopulating the barren earth.
WATCH | The trailer for The Handmaid's Tale