After reading The Handmaid's Tale and hearing a comment about this one, I already had it on my wish list.
Now I can't wait to get hold of a copy and read all of it!
The part about the animals burning reminds me of the foot and mouth outbreak here in the UK a couple of years ago. There are just enough hints of a normal world and the present world to get me hooked.
Although I thought what Margaret Atwood writes is called speculative fiction, not science fiction? ;-)