‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ continued

August 29, 2019

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The cover of Margaret Atwood’s forthcoming sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

The cover of Margaret Atwood’s forthcoming sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Credit:

Courtesy of Penguin Random House

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is getting a sequel, “The Testaments,” so it’s a good time to look at what originally influenced Margaret Atwood, and how the book continues to influence others. First, Atwood herself talks about her inspirations for the book — the rise of the Christian right in the 1980s and a woman in New England in the 17th century who was accused of being a witch. Then Ann Dowd, who portrays the character Aunt Lydia on the Hulu adaptation, talks with Kurt Andersen about how she has spent a career making scary characters so real and recognizable. Finally, Louise Erdrich and Megan Hunter talk about how their dystopian novels also explore the significance of pregnancy.

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