The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood In the Republic of Gilead, once the United States, the extreme right has massacred Congress and is in control. Women are unable to read, hold jobs, or even have their own name. You are a chaste Wife, a domestic Martha, or a Handmaid – and your sole purpose in life is to bear children you will hand over immediately after birth. Feminist nightmare? Definitely. A must-read? Absolutely.