“In the face of a determined effort to censor and silence, the unburnable book is an emblem of our collective resolve to protect books, stories and ideas from those who fear and revile them,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.”
First released in 1985, Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is a longtime bestseller… and a longtime object of censorship. The futuristic, dystopian novel about patriarchy run wild has long been one of the United States’ most-banned books—fodder for those who would censor or even burn its searing words.
Now, Atwood has partnered up with her publisher, Penguin Random House, to create a version of the book that’s impossible to ignite anything other than heated debate. It’s fireproof.
Although it might look like an ordinary 384-page book, the fireproof edition is mostly made from Cinefoil, a specially treated aluminum foil, and contains other products such as fire-resistant inks and nickel wire. The technology—which protects the book even when heated to 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit—was designed by the creative agency Rethink and the graphic arts studio The Gas Company, Inc.
Though Atwood’s novel has often faced bans itself, PEN America says it’s symbolic of an entire modern-day movement to stifle literary expression.
“In the face of a determined effort to censor and silence, this unburnable book is an emblem of our collective resolve to protect books, stories and ideas from those who fear and revile them,” PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel said in a statement.
I stopped writing [the novel] several times, because I considered it too far-fetched,” she wrote for the Atlantic last month. “Silly me. Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them?” “ . . . Let’s hope we don’t reach the stage of wholesale book burnings, as in Fahrenheit 451,” Atwood said in a statement referencing the classic Ray Bradbury novel. “But if we do, let’s hope some books will prove unburnable, that they will travel underground, as prohibited books did in the Soviet Union.”Margaret Atwood