The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood | Book Review


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Margaret Atwood is always a master storyteller. And this was deeply satisfying.

Genre: Greek myth, Retelling
Author: Margaret Atwood
Published: October 2005
Publisher: Text
Pages: 199 (paperback)

Penelope has always been my favourite mythological character. Ever since I first read the Odyssey (which I studied at university, I can’t claim I read it solely for leisurely enjoyment), I was captured by her character.

To me, she’s always seemed like a strong female character, tucked into the corner of a male-dominant narrative. So as I said before, this feminist reconstruction of such a famous story was deeply, deeply satisfying.

It’s clever, as you expect from Atwood, and it’s profound despite its brevity. It’s sharp and brilliant, and steeped in the nuanced self-depricating humour of the feminine plight.

Nothing not to love about this, particularly if you want a chuckle at Odysseus’s expense.

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Title: The Penelopiad
Author: Margaret Atwood
Purchase: Angus & Robertson
Add it on Goodreads

For Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, running a kingdom while her husband is away fighting in the Trojan War is no simple matter. Already distressed that he had been lured away because of the shocking behavior of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also raise her wayward son, face scandalous rumors, and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, and bloodthirsty suitors at bay.

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