Margaret Atwood’s iconic sci-fi novel The Handmaid’s Tale left things on a final, yet somewhat ambiguous, note. Now, ahead of the upcoming Hulu adaptation, Atwood has released a new audiobook chapter that tells more about what happened after that closing line: “Are there any questions?”
The Handmaid’s Tale concludes with an academic appraisal of the events of the novel, set years after the Republic of Gilead ceased to exist. A Symposium is looking into what the hell happened to create (and ultimately destroy) Gilead, starting with the “Sons of Jacob” government coup all the way through to Offred’s uncertain exit from the Commander’s home. The new material, released as an Audible audiobook exclusive, dives into a Q&A between the chair of the Symposium, the main speaker, and members of the audience, using a full cast to transform the chapter into a pretty effective radio drama.
“I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over 30 years ago come alive on new platforms every year,” Atwood said in a press release. “The roots of my original book are in audio, Offred’s story was recorded, not written, and even the ‘Historical Notes’ are a voice, so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard.”
The Handmaid’s Tale TV adaptation comes out on Hulu April 14 (an Australian broadcaster has not been announced), and the audiobook, with its new chapter, is currently available to download on Audible (the novel itself is narrated by Claire Danes). Entertainment Weekly has released a clip of the new chapter, which you can listen to below.