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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ author says US under Trump getting more Gilead-like

Taylor Lorenz

Margaret Atwood, author of the best-selling dystopian novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” said the U.S. is becoming more “Gilead-like,” referencing the book’s post-cataclysmic America.

Atwood said in an interview on ABC News’s “Nightline” Friday that the U.S. has “Gilead-like symptoms going on,” pointing to attacks on press freedom, a recent spate of sexual harassment allegations and lawmakers’ attempts to roll back reproductive rights.

In Atwood’s book and the hit Hulu television drama by the same name, Gilead represents the majority of the U.S. that has been overtaken by a Christian theocracy built on enforcing gender-based subservience.


“We’re not living in Gilead yet, but there are Gilead-like symptoms going on,” Atwood said, adding that she hopes she is proven wrong about her statement.

“I don’t enjoy being right, because being right means that we are where we are,” she said. “And that’s, that’s not a fun place.”

Atwood recalled a 1986 New York Times book review from the late author Mary McCarthy in which McCarthy wrote that she disagreed with Atwood’s insinuation that the far-right was moving the country toward a Christian theocracy.

“I would rather be where Mary McCarthy thought we would be,” Atwood said. “I would rather she had been right.”

Atwood added that the success of the TV adaptation of her book can be attributed to one thing: President Trump’s 2016 election victory.

In the months since Trump’s election, protesters across the country have dressed as the show’s representation of Atwood’s imagined handmaids to demonstrate against policies perceived as being threatening to women.

“People woke up on the 9th of November, people in the show, and they said we’re in a different show. Nothing about the show had changed,” Atwood said. “But, the frame had changed.”

Tags 2016 presidential election Donald Trump Donald Trump Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood The Handmaid's Tale Trump administration

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