- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Canongate U.S.; First Edition edition (October 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1841957178
- ISBN-13: 978-1841957173
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 191 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,261 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus First Edition Edition
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She tells her side of the story of Helen of Troy, what Odysseus was up to, her maid's actions, and the suitors who
tried to woo her during Odysseus' absence. Overall an entertaining twist on the myth.
Atwood's gift for looking at the world "slant" has frequently taken the form of dystopias, beginning with "The Handmaid's Tale". Yet, in her very early novels "The Edible Woman" and "Lady Oracle" she also revealed a mordant sense of humor. That wit is again central to her story-telling in "The Penelopiad." Her skill at refocussing on familiar events from a feminist viewpoint, as in "Life Before Man" and "The Robber Bride," continues to characterize her writing in this novel. Readers familiar with her work will enjoy this fresh take on an old legend. Those just getting acquainted with her writing will be moved to seek out more of her biting wit. Recommended.
This novel by Atwood is the story of The Odyssey told from Penelope's (Odysseus's wife) point of view. Atwood also gives voices to Penelope's 12 maids who are killed seemingly without reason by Odysseus and Telemachus in Book 22 of the original story. Penelope doesn't get much face time in the original Odyssey, so it's very enriching to read about her life and experiences. Being an Atwood book, I expected this to be a feminist take on a well-known masculine myth, but Penelope wasn't as strong a character as I expected (or hoped.) The chapters featuring the maids (as the chorus) however, were every bit as thought-provoking and disturbing as I've come to expect and love from Atwood.
This is apparently part of a larger "Modern Myths" series by Canongate featuring other authors retelling well-known myths from unexpected points of view. I look forward to reading more in this series.