Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale imagines a totalitarian society in which women's rights have been completely erased. Denied control over their own bodies, women are used as servants, wives, or, as in the case of the narrator Offred, 'handmaids'. Offred describes handmaids as "two-legged wombs", as they are ritually raped by powerful men and forced to bear their children.
With rollbacks to women's rights hitting the headlines across the world this year, the book - which was originally published in 1985 and is now a TV series currently running on Channel 4 - feels more relevant than ever. The dystopian world it describes seems less like a work of science fiction and more of a wake-up call, and it has inspired a wave of protests against restrictions of women's rights.Read more