Set in a dystopian distant future after a nuclear catastrophe has erased much of normal life as we know it, "The Handmaid's Tale" is the story of a woman trying to live in a repressive, religious based, dictatorial society that has taken away every right and freedom from women.
Very disturbing, and chilling, we listen to Offred (not her real name but one the Government assigns to her) as she relates what life is like under the system, her humiliations and obliterations and as she suffers painful flashbacks of her life before the dictatorship, when she was a woman who loved her husband and daughter and was loved back.
Atwood tackles many issues here: women's rights, government's rights, abortion, pornography, religion, relationship between men and women, the problem of having things, not having them, appreciating people, showing them affection, how people behave under the grip of fear and peer pressure.
I found it chilling just as much as I found it a compelling read.
"1984" will always be the best book as far as dystopian futures go, but "The Handmaid's Tale" is definitely second after that.
I reccomend it.