The night after I read The Handmaid’s Tale, I had several nightmares. There’s something that is deeply unsettling about a nightmare, and Atwood’s book tapped into that fear for me. I don’t mean to dismiss the book. Quite the opposite. I stayed up far too long to finish it. It was five in the morning when I could finally put it down. But that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t unsettled.
I’ll save more thoughts for when we’re further along in the book, but I’ll leave this post with a quote:
“What I need is perspective. The illusion of depth, created by a frame, the arrangement of shapes on a flat surface. Perspective is necessary. Otherwise there are only two dimensions. Otherwise you live with your face squashed up against a wall, everything a huge foreground, of details, close-ups, hairs, the weave of the bedsheet, the molecules of the face. Your own skin like a map, a diagram of futility, crisscrossed with tiny roads that lead nowhere. Otherwise you live in the moment. Which is not where I want to be.”