I really enjoyed the book. I don't love her style of writing but it was engaging and a great story.
I hated the ending. I don't know what I wanted. But towards the end it became clear that she was writing this down for someone (unless she had completely lost her mind, it shifted from her telling her story — which could be the story as it unfolds or her own reflection — to her actively addressing whoever would be reading/hearing the tale).
I thought maybe she had squirreled away paper and it was being left to the person who would take her place. The fact that it wasn't, that she walks into the light or whatever, suggests that she survived to tell the story. Right? Right. Good talk..
Also the scene where the japanese tourists are there and want to talk to them was so uncomfortably reminiscent of how people often treat locals in developing countries that I wanted to curl up and die.
ETA: So I'm glad I wrote this post because it turns out I did not finish the book — I didn't realize the historical notes were part of the novel. Whoops.
Now I feel better about it. So she does get away. Well, to some extent anyway. It's interesting hearing the perspective o it as a historical document and the tone they take when discussing it. Since it had just happened in my head, it was a bold tactic to have it so abruptly shift to something centuries earlier. It made me much more defensive of the characters than I would have been otherwise in a "BUT YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT IT WAS LIKE" kind of way — which is a tribute to Atwood really. I didn't realize how attached I had become to the character.
Anyway, amazing what 10 pages tacked onto the end can do to a book. No complaints about the ending now. I also liked how they explained things like the names. It's frustrating (and realistic) that it seems like no lesson was learned - that you can back slide from being "civilized."
I'm want to know how the regime ultimately fell and what happened to her daughter — when the girls of legitimate parents grew up did they have status or were they like brood mares too? It makes you wonder how we will discuss things like the Nazi regime (not the holocaust, but the control they held over Germany) a few hundred years from now. Or, you know, slavery.
ETA: Holy shit renting this immediately