In Homer's account in The Odyssey, Penelope - wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy - is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages.Left alone for 20 years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan war after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumours, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously.When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters, and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and - curiously - 12 of her maids.In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her 12 hanged maids, asking, "What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?"In Atwood's dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the storytelling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality - and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.More
We've sent an email with your order details. Order ID #:
To access this title, visit your library in the app or on the desktop website.
Atwood- but not at her best
Atwood can do no wrong as far as I am concerned. Her genius is such that I'm not sure that she's really one person. Each of her novels belongs to entirely different genres and her voice can be male, female, old, young, and even not entirely human. I suspect that it may one day be revealed that she is in fact the owner of a bizarre novel-producing labour camp that enslaves writers to produce histories, romances, science-fictions and most every other kind of novel. The real question is how she manages to find and keep such a range of incredibly talented authors producing such wonderfully enjoyable tales.
Having said this, I found the Penelopiad to be not-her-best work. I love the idea of a feminist retelling of Homer's Greek epic. I think she was true to the style and I have no doubt that someone who knows more than my smidgen of Iliad and Odyssey would enjoy multiple references that passed me by. But this novel failed to mesmerise me in the way every other Atwood novel has done. I admired it and enjoyed it but I wasn't enthralled by it.
I think this would, if anything, make for a better movie than a book. The fantastic gods, the wild adventures - they would really lend themselves to the big screen.
- Elizabeth Weingarten