The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths) Paperback – 4 May 2006
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Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives." (Independent)
As potent as a curse." (Lucy Hughes Hallett Sunday Times)
"Atwood takes Penelope's part with tremendous verve...she explores the very nature of mythic story-telling." (Mary Beard Guardian)
"Atwood's typical wit and vim on fine display: with the late maids providing a Greek chorus, Penelope swoops across the centuries to pithily slate her cousin Helen of Troy, judge Odysseus and even provide a feminist viewpoint of which Homer could nary have dreamt." (Observer 2008-03-09)
"Pragmatic, clever, domestic, mournful, Penelope is a perfect Atwood heroine." (Sam Leith Spectator)
Now that I'm dead I know everythingSee all Product description
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Presented as a normal prose tale as such, there are intervals where we hear the chorus, mirroring in many ways traditional Classical Greek drama. Taking in many themes and ideas, as well as genres, so the story that we are told here, by a woman who has been dead for many centuries, does show a certain amount of wry humour, as the story is retold for us.
Did Odysseus really do all the things that is claimed in the Odyssey – or have they been rather blown out of proportion? Was the killing of for instance Cyclops more of a tavern brawl over payment?
Presented as it is here with a normal narrative, but with added scenes from the chorus, this does make for an interesting and relatively quick read, that is quite enjoyable. I would personally think that you do not have to be fully knowledgeable on the Odyssey, or the way that ideas have changed over the centuries with regards to Helen and the whole Troy battles, but it does help if you at least understand a bit about what the original text is, and have a vague idea of current thoughts on someone like Helen of Troy.
This is a fantastic short read.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I love Margaret Atwood and don't think I've ever read one I didn't enjoy.
The Penelopiad is the story of Penelope and her life, before, during and after her marriage. Penelope is a compelling narrator and the chapters are short but well written and engaging.
Interspersed with references to modern life; other Greek myths and verses from the twelve maids this is an interesting and readable and enjoyble book. It has made me want to re-read the Odyssey with the things I have learnt about Penelope in my mind.