The second volume of The Scarlet Servant in the Booker Prize selection

The Testaments, the sequel to the Margaret Atwood saga that inspired the television series, is shortlisted for the coveted British Literary Award. The finalists will be announced on September 3 and the winner will be announced on October 14. The French release of the book is scheduled for November.

Booker Prize jurors have unveiled the first list of thirteen candidates selected to win Britain’s most famous literary prize. Margaret atwood could well be the future winner of the award, for The Testaments, the second volume of The Scarlet Handmaid. The Canadian had already obtained it in 2000, with her work The Blind Assassin). Established in 1969, the Booker Prize is one of the most prestigious literary prizes, and only fictions written in the English language are selected.

The Scarlet Handmaid, Global Success

Margaret Atwood published in 1985 The Handmaid’s Tale, (The Scarlet Handmaid, in French). It is a dystopian novel imagining a dictatorship called Gilead where fertile women, the Scarlet Handmaids, like the heroine June, embodied on the screen by Elisabeth moss, are forced to have sex with powerful men to stem the fall in the birth rate. Number one in sales in the United States last January, the book sold 320,000 copies.

Its adaptation in television series got multiple awards, including eight Emmy Awards. The sequel to the first novel is therefore eagerly awaited and will be published in English in September, then in November in France.

The Testaments recounts, through the intermediary of three narrators, the continuation of the adventures of Offred, a servant in a red dress reduced to the role of child maker in the dictatorial Republic, fifteen years later. If we have few elements about the narrative framework, the novelist has however declared that she wants to be inspired by the current political climate, in particular the politics of Donald trump and her new restrictions on women’s rights in some American states: “Dear Readers: For this book, I have drawn inspiration from all the questions you have asked me over the years about Gilead and its inner workings. Well, almost all of them! My other source of inspiration is the world we live in ”.

Political crises at the heart of the selected novels

If the jury qualified The Testaments “terrifying and exhilarating”, the competition promises to be tough. She will have to do battle with a number of novels inspired by the current political crises. In The Wall, John Lanchester imagines a wall of 10,000 kilometers erected around Great Britain to protect itself from migrants. Valeria Luiselli, Mexican novelist, author of Lost Children Archive focuses on scandals concerning children separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

The winner will win the sum of 50,000 pounds (nearly 56,000 euros) as well as a special edition of his book. A second selection will take place on September 3, to define the six finalists. The ultimate result will be communicated on October 14.

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The second volume of The Scarlet Servant in the Booker Prize selection

Hank Gilbert