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Introduction by Sophie Mackintosh
Afterword by Jan Garden Castro
Illustrations by Ken Cunningham

One of the most chilling cautionary tales of the 20th century, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is a tour de force of dystopian fiction.

It is the world of the near future, and Offred is a Handmaid in the home of the Commander and his wife. She is allowed out only once a day to the market, she is not permitted to read and she is hoping the Commander makes her pregnant; as her very existence is only valued if her ovaries are viable.

Offred can remember the years before, when she was an independent woman, had a job of her own, a husband and child. Now those days seem far away. For in their wake, the land that was once the United States has become the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birth rate by reverting to and going beyond the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men in its population.

Unpredictable, horrifying, and altogether convincing, The Handmaid’s Tale is an uncompromising portrait of totalitarianism and institutional misogyny. The novel explores themes of subjugated women in a patriarchal society, loss of female agency and individuality, and the various means by which they resist and attempt to gain individuality and independence.

In 2018, Atwood reflected on her process writing The Handmaid’s Tale: “I made a rule for myself. I would not include anything that human beings had not already done in some other place or time, or for which the technology did not already exist. I did not wish to be accused of dark, twisted inventions, or of misrepresenting the human potential for deplorable behavior.”

The Handmaid’s Tale won the 1985 Governor General’s Award, and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987. It has been adapted into a 1990 film, a 2000 opera, and a 2017 television series.

The signed limited edition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood is presented in three states: Artist, Numbered and Lettered. The editions measure 6” x 9” and include an introduction by Sophie Mackintosh, an afterword by Jan Garden Castro and six full color illustrations by Ken Cunningham. The Numbered and Lettered editions are signed by Margaret Atwood, Sophie Mackintosh, Jan Garden Castro and Ken Cunningham. The Artist edition is signed by Ken Cunningham.

Given that The Handmaid’s Tale is about the oppression of women, we thought it important that the types we used to set the book be designed by a woman. In this case, one woman: Maria Doreuli. Her William Text is based on the types of William Caslon (1692–1766), whose letterforms would have been familiar to Puritan New Englanders from whom the founders of Gilead seemed to take so much inspiration. The display type, Kak, has its own oppressive qualities: It’s heavy and dark and looming, always making its presence known. Like Gilead, it is overwhelming, inescapable, and allows for no light (or hope) to get through.

The Numbered edition of 250 copies is bound in black Harmatan and Oakridge goatskin, and red Japanese cloth. The cover and spine are foil blocked in three colors, and endsheets are printed letterpress on Hahnemühle Bugra.

The edition is housed in a quarter Japanese cloth cigar-box enclosure with handmade paste paper sides by Marie Kelzer. Each sheet of the paste papers are hand painted one at a time, and no two are entirely alike. Marie Kelzer’s paste papers are part of the Paper Legacy Project and are housed at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, at the Thomas J. Watson Library.

The edition is printed letterpress on a Heidelberg Cylinder Press by Bradley Hutchinson in Austin, Texas. The paper is Mohawk Superfine Softwhite Eggshell, and the edition is signed by Margaret Atwood, Sophie Mackintosh, Jan Garden Castro and Ken Cunningham.

Product info: PREORDER (ETA: Fall 2022), published by Suntup Editions