Review Round Up: The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Love London Love Culture rounds up the reviews for Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Guardian: “Perhaps no other writer has managed her own phenomenon with so much grace and skill. The Testaments is Atwood at her best, in its mixture of generosity, insight and control.” “The sequel is able to buoy you as a reader in a way The Handmaid’s Tale had no interest in doing, but sit with it and it’s still slippery and at times satisfyingly unsatisfying. This is an intriguing book from a woman who knows she can do bleak any day of the week.”

The Times: “This sequel is a rattling yarn even though it does not live up to the original.”

The Telegraph: **** “The Testaments is a much more accessible book than its brilliant yet forbidding predecessor. At times it races along like a spy thriller written by Charles Dickens, rich in suspense, coincidence and messy humanity.” “Atwood is undoubtedly clever, and knows how to turn a sentence and keep the reader sprightly over the plot. It will no doubt appeal to those who have never read her other works (Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and Hag-Seed are far better). But as I read it, I was reminded of a different Gilead entirely; Marilynne Robinson’s book with that title. It tried to explain how to be good in a world gone wrong; but Atwood’s sequel shows merely how to be angry at the world as it is.” *** “The plot is propulsive and I finished in six hours flat. But if The Handmaid’s Tale was Atwood’s mistresspiece, The Testaments is a misstep. The Handmaid’s Tale ended on a note of interrogation: “Are there any questions?” Those questions were better left unanswered.” “It’s fun to read. It’s beautifully written. But it feels less honest than The Handmaid’s Tale did. And for that reason, it’s hard to imagine it having the samekind of grand legacy.”

iNews: ***** “The Testaments is a formidable achievement that will doubtless be read in decades to come.”

Entertainment Weekly: “Atwood deftly balances her three narrators as her plot hurtles forward, but her characterization is lacking.” “All of this and a corker of a plot, culminating in a breathless flight to freedom, makes The Testaments a rare treat. The Handmaid’s Tale, while magnificent, was never that. But—let’s not kid ourselves—that’s because, of the two novels, it is the least reassuring, the least flattering, and, sadly, the most true.”

The Testaments is available to buy now.

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