Photo: George Kraychyk/Hulu
Praise be! In today’s truly crazy world, author Margaret Atwood is following up her classic dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale with a sequel.
The author, who writes her own loglines for the three-season Hulu series adaptation, plans to return to Gilead with The Testaments. The story will take place 15 years after Offred’s final scene.
Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale. #TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in Sept 2019. More details: https://t.co/e1umh5FwpX pic.twitter.com/pePp0zpuif
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) November 28, 2018
As readers can recall, the 1985 novel ended ambigiously when Offred was carted away from the Waterfords’ home to either her safety or doom in the Eyes’ van. At long last, Atwood will reveal what indeed happened to Offred (ahem, June presumably) after that mysterious final scene. Her Twitter announcement confirms The Testaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and will be narrated by three female characters.
The Canadian author spoke with the Los Angeles Times about her upcoming novel, and said why she decided to write a sequel. “That’s easy to answer. Number one, it’s fun. But that’s a very frivolous answer. Number two, I’ve been asked these questions by readers for 35 years. ‘Oh, come on, Margaret!’ So it’s time to address some of the requests. It’s not a continuation that starts five minutes after the book ends and then I tell you what happens next. It takes place 15 years after the book ends. [I’ve had the idea] over the past five years or so. I’m almost finished with it.”
Atwood’s announcement mentions the new novel’s is inspired by the world we live in now. “The news has become so much more extreme. What about these people in Ohio that are saying motherhood should be mandatory? They haven’t done it yet, they’re talking about it. But when people talk about things like that, being the age I am, I’m remembering that Hitler said it all in ‘Mein Kampf’ and then he did it. If they had the power, they would do it. These ideas have been tried before. What I’m fixated on now, of course, like all Canadians, is we’ve got our faces jammed up against the plate-glass window, looking into your country. What kind of shenanigans will they be up to next? What’s gonna happen next? I’ve never seen anything like it, and neither has anybody else. On one hand, it’s just riveting, and on the other hand, it’s quite appalling.”
While Atwood played coy about revealing too many details, she did reveal that her publishers have created a cover—which will be released later—and a new newsletter that fans can subscribe to.
The Testaments will release next September.