It looks like Margaret Atwood is headed back to Gilead, over three decades after she originally published The Handmaid's Tale. On Wednesday, the author announced that she's finally finished a sequel to her brilliant 1985 dystopian novel, and the thing is due out next September. Praise be!
Don't expect the new book, called The Testaments, to be some boring rehashing of the last season of Hulu's show. The second season of the streaming service's Handmaid's Tale adaptation may have already given us a taste of what happened to Offred after her attempted rebellion at the end of the novel, but The Testaments will tell an entirely new story.
According to Atwood, the upcoming novel will be set long after the show's current timeline, picking up the plot "15 years after Offred’s final scene" in the book. She also said that it'll be narrated by "three female characters," though it's unclear if these will be new characters or folks we know already, like Offred herself.
"Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book," Atwood said in a statement. "Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in."
This isn't the first time Atwood has spoken about the unfortunate parallels between the dystopian future she dreamed up for The Handmaid's Tale and the current state of America. In an interview with ABC News last May, the author said that while the country isn't Gilead just yet, there are some "pre-Gilead things going on." Later in the same interview, Atwood also speculated on what might happen to Offred in a Handmaid's Tale sequel, though she was frustratingly vague about the whole thing. "Sometimes I think she escapes out of Bangor, Maine, or goes to Canada and then gets over to Europe somehow," she said. "And sometimes I think, No, they catch her."
We'll have to wait until next year to find out for sure. The Testaments is set to hit shelves September 10, 2019. In the meantime, Hulu has renewed Handmaid's Tale for a third season, and since the first two dropped on the streaming service in April, be on the lookout for new episodes this spring.
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