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Penelope's Daughter Paperback – October 5, 2010
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Intrusion: A Novel
A loving couple, grieving the loss of their son, finds their marriage in free fall when a beautiful, long-lost acquaintance inserts herself into their lives. Learn More
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Top Customer Reviews
Each chapter of the book begins with a description by Xanthe of a part of her weaving that she is working on. Xanthe has decided, while locked away in her bedroom, that she will tell her life's story through a giant weaving. She explains choices for different colors, techniques, threads, and as you read on in the chapter, you can see how this weaving mirrors her life. It is a very interesting story telling device, although at the beginning of the story it did leave me a little confused.
Xanthe can break down her life into three distinct sections - and the book is broken down the same way - Ithaca, Sparta, Ithaca. The first part, Ithaca, Xanthe is a very young girl. She doesn't really understand the world that is unfolding around her now that her father has been gone for so long and the politics that are at play. I had some trouble getting into this section - it just felt a little more dry to me than the rest of the book. The second part, Sparta, is Xanthe's life at the court of Helen of Troy. She was sent there to try an escape The Suitors. Here is where the story really picked up for me. This is where Xanthe really grows up and learns more of her role in life.Read more ›
Most of us know of Homer's The Odyssey from required reading in school, but I have to admit that I don't remember very much of the experience. I can say now that if it was as entertaining as Penelope's Daughter I might have paid a lot more attention! It just took a few pages and I was caught up in Xanthe's world with Corona's entrancing style of writing and exquisite descriptions.
My most favorite part was how the author began each chapter with Xanthe at the loom describing the colors she would use to represent a person, event or place that had meaning to her.
On her brother, Telemachus: "He is woven in green, with little tufted knots of white, like the olive in bloom where we used to play when I was six and he was eight years old."
On her life in Sparta: "I took a charred ember from the fire and, going to the hidden side of my weaving I darkened what I had woven about Sparta until it was caked in black. Sometimes from the front of the loom I stare where I know the black is hiding, imagining little holes burning through the cloth. We think we can control the story we present to the world, but the truth always lies in the background, awaiting its chance to illuminate and scar."
This was my first read by Laurel Corona, but you can be bet I will be back for more! Penelope's Daughter was one phenomenal book and I highly recommend it!
There seems to be a popular genre in modern literature, most likely started by Anita Diamant's The Red Tent: A Novel, that takes popular ancient stories and tells them through the viewpoint of a female protagonist. These stories often downplay the male characters to the point of making them look foolish, while elevating the female characters to near sainthood. The genre delves into the "secret" lives of ancient women that usually involve goddess worship, horrifying puberty rituals, and premarital sexual relations despite their culture's enormous value on virginity. While I always welcome old stories told through new perspectives, especially male-dominated tales told through the eyes of women, I don't like how the authors interject their own modern views of what female empowerment means.
"Penelope's Daughter" fits this genre to a T, flaws and all. It has a very interesting premise: when Odysseus sails away to Troy, Penelope doesn't know she's pregnant with a daughter. This daughter, Xanthe, grows up never knowing her father. The novel is strongest in the first half when we learn of her childhood and how she ended up living with Helen (yes, THE Helen) in Sparta. Once she gets to Sparta, though, the novel takes a strange turn. Xanthe latches on to Helen and practically worships her. Anything Helen tells her to do, she does, despite her initial protests. Go through some crazy puberty ritual that involves unwanted genital touching? OK! Go lose your virginity even though that may bring shame to you and your family? OK!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This novel takes a different perspective on the Odysseus myth by telling the story from the point of view of the daughter, Xanthe, born after Odysseus has left for war. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Michelle Boytim
Though the first section of the book dealing with Xanthe's childhood is slow, lacking in dramatic drive, the book picks up with Book II. Read morePublished 24 months ago by CA Book Lover
What if Penelope the wife of Odysseus aka Ulysses from Homer's epic The Odyssey also had a daughter that was born after her father left to fight in the Trojan war? Read morePublished on June 26, 2014 by E. B. MULLIGAN
You may know the story of Odysseus and the Trojan War, but do you know about his pregnant teenage bride, Penelope, and 1 year old son that he left behind for 10 years. Read morePublished on January 30, 2014 by Lynn Strain
Great story! Wonderful to have a back door look at the Odussey. The character development really enriches the story and draws us close to characters that previously just seemed... Read morePublished on December 5, 2013 by Mariana Beecher
Corona weaves a masterful story. The book is written from a feminist perspective, adding a refreshing twist with which readers can connect and empathize. Read morePublished on August 12, 2013 by Heidib
I confess: I'm a junky for books that retell the story of the Trojan War, the Odyssey, and/or Helen of Troy. My favorites? Read morePublished on May 15, 2013 by Smoky Zeidel
I chose this rating because it's ok as a read for anyone who does not know any of the (various) original versions of Penelope and her husband Odysseus. Read morePublished on May 10, 2013 by Maria Cebotari