El cuento de la criada
by Margaret Atwood
En El cuento de la criada, Margaret Atwood, autora canadiense galardonada con el Booker Prize y otros importantes premios literarios, imagina una dictadura habitada por mujeres estériles y donde sólo una minoría, las criadas, están destinada

All Reviews

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Alex-NoirAlex-Noir wrote a review
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Romanzo distopico interessante nel quadro che crea, originale, potenzialmente ricco di spunti di riflessione.
Ma allo stesso tempo per quanto riguarda lo svolgimento il racconto risulta un po' povero di pathos e un'organizzazione della narrazione ingarbugliata (l'autrice decide di non raccontarci il quadro il cui è ambientata la vicenda, bensì ce lo fa dedurre lentamente dai frammenti di vissuto della protagonista) non aiuta a rendere il libro del tutto convincente.

Vengo ai pro: come dicevo il libro potenzialmente come spesso avviene per i romanzi distopici, portando all'eccesso alcuni concetti, permette di far riflettere su degli aspetti della nostra realtà. E così fa questo libro, permettendoci di riflettere sul senso della libertà individuale, sulle caratteristiche di un regime totalitario, e poi nello specifico sul senso profondo dell'emancipazione femminile, fino anche a riflettere sul senso dell'amore che in questo libro assurge al ruolo di valore inalienabile per l'essere umano. Anche se devo dire in questo romanzo viene principalmente narrata una storia, la parte di sintesi e riflessione è lasciata pricipalmente al lettore, l'autrice non trasmette granché il suo punto di vista, nè da mai veramente la sua "lezione". Questo elemento poi è valutabile a seconda dei gusti del lettore: a me per esempio sarebbe piaciuto di più avere dei momenti di pausa e riflessione maggiore. Spesso avevo l'impressione che tutto scorresse via senza essere adeguatamente processato e metabolizzato.

I contro: La protagonista ha un'indole remissiva e apatica. Forse è così perché la situazione che vive porta all'annullamento della propria personalità. Forse gli è semplicemente uscita così. Purtroppo non crea molta empatia. La narrazione , come accennato all'inizio, ha una struttura intricata in cui il racconto del contesto non viene affrontato all'inizio ma inserito in maniera sparpagliata nel romanzo (il testo inizia come se il lettore già conoscesse tutta la situazione). Il che è sì originale, ma crea un po' di confusione. Dopo 200 pagine ancora non avevo un quadro chiaro e inoltre non era successo praticamente nulla. La trama purtroppo non decolla nemmeno nelle restanti 200 pagine, tanto che parlerei più che altro del racconto di una certa fantasia distopica in cui la vicenda personale della protagonista è solo un pretesto.
ZhuraZhura wrote a review
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iozioz wrote a review
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Spoiler Alert
The first time I came across with her name was on a headline about a famous Canadian writer who was annoying many prominent figures of the meToo movement and in doing so she was tagged as bad feminist. I have a fondness for beautiful oxymorons, so I couldn’t help empathizing with her without even reading the article. Although her name didn’t ring any bell in my head, her most famous novel did. Most blogs about TV shows had highly praised the series based on her book: The Handmaid’s tale. Both, the fame of the show and the personality of the author, were pulling my mind apart. What joy to choose: reading the book or watching the show? I did what I always do when I cannot make up my mind. Do nothing.
Summer came spreading flowers in the gardens, stifling heat in the streets and spare time enough to cut any excuse. Something inside me drove one day to one of the big bookshops in Zaragoza and I ended indulging myself with 3 readings for the beach I was not visiting, Atwood’s work included.
A year to make a decision, a minute to start reading the first sentence and get the first impression, an old compulsion of mine.
We slept in what had once been the gymnasium
While reading it I couldn’t stop wondering What gymnasium? Who sleeps in a gymnasium? One page more and I didn’t even know when the action was taking place. From the very beginning the author shows the reader the difficulties it is going to face along the book, as if to make it get used to it. Neither the action is described along a defined timeline, nor the information abound every page. It is more like pieces of a broken mirror scattered on the floor and it is to the reader to join them and make the most of them. But there is not only one surface where the pieces of information are located, but three: there is the time when she lived in a free world, with her family; the time she spend in the Rachel and Leah Center, unofficially known as the Red Center because of the colour of their robes, to learn how to be a handmaid; and the time of her scooped up in the house of the man, the Commander, she has to bear child to.  
As a reader I found myself longing for more details about the Aunts, the econowives, the Gileadean regime… but describing that world is not the aim of the book. Maybe that is why the author states hers is not a science fiction novel. The nitty gritty is the feelings and experiences of the main character, Offred, belonging to a caste of fertile women charged with the only responsibility of breeding. What is it like to be fired from your job, to get rid off your economic autonomy, to get split from your husband, your daughter and be sent to a detention center to be rewired into a loyal reproductive soldier, emptied of willingness, of purpose, of joy, of love, of freedom? She is no longer a person with her different tastes, likes, hates, she is a well cared of, well fed and protected valuable recipient, and object, a means.
Offred feels like a refugee of the past, of a time past. A time she hardly could imagine would end, would ever become a past, or even worse, would ever be forgotten. Try as she may, she has difficulty remembering her husband face, her daughter’s warmth, her own freedom.
Those memories, as blurry and distorted as they may be, work as a counterweight for the reader to bear the crude, brutal, severe life of her.  A claustrophobic, suffocating world for women, extremely coded, like the XIXth century victorian society. A world with no hopes, just grey, dull rutinary chores. A world with no luxuries, where the ruling taste is not for tech, but for homemade, women-made things, a return to traditional values like an Amish community but without the appealing presence of Harrison Ford.
Sometimes the omnipresent, introspective point of view of Offred hampers the rhythm of the reading, especially at the middle of it.  But most of the time it is the beauty of it. Lain on the bed, sit by the window, been fucked by the Commander, she reflects on every simple thing, she finds the most modest event remarkable, a dandelion on the lawn, glimpses of the sequins of her garment, the touch of the token of a Scrabble game, the plaster figures of the ceiling of her room, the forgotten smell of sex.
This style is only broken at the end, in the appendix called Historical notes. The first person personal, closed narrative is turned into a third person objective explanation of some of the points the book failed to do. A clumsy and dispensable device that smudges the witty style of the book.