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Atwood on Handmaid Show: Some Characters 'Would Have Been Shot'

Author says she understands why some might be baffled by certain plot developments
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 5, 2019 3:00 PM CDT
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This Aug. 21, 2019 photo shows author Margaret Atwood posing for a portrait in Toronto, Canada.   (Photo by Arthur Mola/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Have you found yourself yelling at your television set while watching The Handmaid's Tale? Well, so has the author of the book that inspired the Hulu series. "I've done some yelling, but it was fairly effective yelling," Margaret Atwood tells the New York Times in response to the question of whether she's disagreed with any of the show's plot developments. "I think it's a bit of a problem for people that know about real totalitarianism that some of these characters have survived for as long as they did. Surely they would have been shot by now. Quite a few too many people know what June has been up to." Atwood serves as a consulting producer on the show, Vanity Fair notes, but she tells the Times, "I have influence but no power. There’s a big difference. I’m not the person who can ultimately sign off on anything."

That influence does come in handy, however, when she wants to tell series creator Bruce Miller things like "You can't kill ... Aunt Lydia," as she says she once did. Lydia is a central character in Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel, The Testaments, to be released Tuesday (and already on the Booker Prize shortlist). The Testaments, which takes place about 15 years after the ambiguous ending of Handmaid, "has more closure" than Handmaid, Atwood says. "Someone said, oh, it’s such a happy ending, well, not for everyone in the story. It is a more positive ending than one might have expected at certain points of the story. I’m a World War II baby. Things looked pretty dark in 1942." Her full interview is worth a read. (Read more Margaret Atwood stories.)

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