A burn-proof edition of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ up for auction : NPR

by Msnbctv news staff


Writer Margaret Atwood attends the Glamour Ladies of the Yr Awards in New York on Nov. 11, 2019.

Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP


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Writer Margaret Atwood attends the Glamour Ladies of the Yr Awards in New York on Nov. 11, 2019.

Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

NEW YORK — Margaret Atwood has imagined apocalyptic catastrophe, Dystopian authorities and an creator faking her personal loss of life. However till just lately she had spared herself the nightmare of making an attempt to burn considered one of her personal books.

With a flamethrower, no much less.

She failed, and that was the purpose.

On Monday night time, timed for PEN America’s annual gala, Atwood and Penguin Random Home introduced {that a} one-off, unburnable version of “The Handmaid’s Story” can be auctioned via Sotheby’s New York. They launched the initiative with a quick video that reveals Atwood trying in useless to incinerate her traditional novel a couple of totalitarian patriarchy, the Republic of Gilead. Proceeds will probably be donated to PEN, which advocates at no cost expression around the globe.

“Within the class of stuff you by no means anticipated, that is considered one of them,” she stated in a phone interview.

“To see her traditional novel concerning the risks of oppression reborn on this progressive, unburnable version is a well timed reminder of what is at stake within the battle towards censorship,” Markus Dohle, CEO of Penguin Random Home, stated in a press release.

The fireproof narrative is a joint undertaking amongst PEN, Atwood, Penguin Random Home and two corporations primarily based in Toronto, the place Atwood is a longtime resident: the Rethink inventive company and The Fuel Firm Inc., a graphic arts and bookbinding specialty studio.

Rethink’s Robbie Percy stated that he and fellow inventive director Caroline Friesen got here up with the concept. Late final 12 months, that they had heard a couple of Texas legislator who listed a whole lot of works for potential banning from faculty libraries: Percy and Friesen puzzled if it had been potential to make a e book protected against probably the most harrowing censorship. They quickly agreed on “The Handmaid’s Story,” which got here out within the Nineteen Eighties and has had renewed consideration over the previous few years, starting with the political rise and surprising presidency of Donald Trump and persevering with with the present surge of e book bannings.

“We thought an unburnable copy of ‘Handmaid’s Story’ may function an emblem,” he stated.

Percy and Friesen spoke with Atwood’s publishers in Canada and the U.S. — each divisions of Penguin Random Home — and obtained in contact with the creator. They then contacted Gaslight, which has labored on quite a few commissioned texts, together with some for PEN.

The Fuel Firm’s principal proprietor, Doug Laxdal, advised the AP that as a substitute of paper, he and his colleagues used Cinefoil, a specifically handled aluminum product. The 384-page textual content, which might be learn like an bizarre novel, took greater than two months to finish. The Fuel Firm wanted days simply to print out the manuscript; the Cinefoil sheets had been so skinny that some would fall via cracks within the printer and develop into broken past restore. The manuscript was then sewed collectively by hand, utilizing nickel copper wire.

“The one means you can destroy that e book is with a shredder,” Laxdal says. “In any other case, it’s going to final for a really very long time.”

Atwood advised the AP that she was was instantly within the particular version, and in making the video. She was a youngster within the Nineteen Fifties, when Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” was revealed, and holds vivid recollections of the novel’s futuristic setting, by which books are decreased to ashes.

“The Handmaid’s Story” has by no means been burned, so far as Atwood is aware of, however has usually been subjected to bans or tried bans. Atwood remembers a 2006 effort in a single Texas highschool district, when the superintendent known as her e book “sexually express and offensive to Christians,” that ended when college students efficiently fought again. In 2021, “The Handmaid’s Story” was pulled by colleges in Texas and Kansas.

The novel has offered hundreds of thousands of copies and its impression isn’t just via phrases, however photos, amplified by the award-winning Hulu adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss. Advocates worldwide for girls’s rights have dressed within the puritanical caped robes Atwood devised for her story. Most just lately, some ladies in handmaid outfits marched to protest the Supreme Court docket’s anticipated overturning this 12 months of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 determination that legalized abortion nationwide.

“It is an unforgettable visible metaphor,” Atwood stated. “That is why folks within the center ages put coats of arms on their armor, and had recognizable flags. That means you’ll be able to visualize them and know who’s standing for what.”



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