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Penelopiad, The: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Canongate Myth Series)

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3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  22,224 Ratings  ·  2,158 Reviews
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 twenty 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 ...more
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Published August 12th 2011 by Brilliance Audio (first published 2005)
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Riku Sayuj
The Penelopiad or The Ballad of the Dead Maids

This has been my introduction to Atwood and I have to admit that I feel slightly underwhelmed. I went in with high expectations, wondering how Atwood will take the 'waiting widow' of The Odyssey and transform it into a full length novel. Turns out that she mostly indulges in recapitulating the bulk of the original with a few wild theories and speculations thrown in as supposed rumors that Penelope has gleaned in the after-life.

Which brings me to how
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Madeline
Often I amuse myself by trying to imagine the ideas, conversations, or circumstances that led to the writing of certain books. For example, I think Philippa Gregory wrote The Other Boleyn Girl because she wanted to write a smutty romance novel disguised as history, Shakespeare probably wrote The Taming of the Shrew because someone bet him he couldn't write a play where domestic abuse is interpreted as matrimonial devotion, and Bette Green wrote Summer of My German Soldier specifically to torture ...more
Γκέλλυ
Πηνελοπιάδα. Ένα retelling του γνωστού μύθου του Οδυσσέα και της Πηνελόπης.

Η Πηνελόπη, μοντέλο της πιστής και ιδανικής συζύγου, αποκτά φωνή μέσα από την πένα της Atwood, δίνοντας μας την δική της εκδοχή των γεγονότων. Η Atwood παρουσιάζει τα παιδικά χρόνια της Πηνελόπης, την σχέση της με τους γονείς της, το γάμο της με τον Οδυσσέα και τις δυσκολίες που αντιμετώπισε τα είκοσι χρόνια που αυτός έλειπε από την Ιθάκη. Μια γυναίκα, μόνη για πάρα πολλά χρόνια, που επιβιώνει σε ένα κόσμο αρσενικό, με μ
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✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)
The Greatness Syndrome: when a book is so original, thought-provoking and fantastically written that there is nothing to say about it.



Rowena
Jul 17, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, mythology, atwood
This was so beautifully written. As someone who's fairly familiar with the myth of Penelope and Odysseus, it was quite fascinating to see how a modern-day writer would spin the story. Atwood did this brilliantly. I love stories that write from the perspective of the main character, especially when the said character is looking back in hindsight.Very creative.
BrokenTune
Mar 05, 2016 BrokenTune rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The Penelopiad is another installment of the Canongate Myths Series.

In this installment, Margaret Atwood turns her hand to the story of Odysseus and tells the story of The Odyssey and The Iliad from the perspective of Penelope, Odysseus' wife.

If you have ever wondered what it would be like to read an Atwood version of Homer's anthem to heroism, it was fun. I read this whilst waiting at the garage. Apparently, my chuckling along persuaded the elderly gentleman next to me to co-read while waiting
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Amy (shoutame)
Oct 28, 2015 Amy (shoutame) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult
I read this one on the recommendation of the lovely Jean at Bookishthoughts and thoroughly enjoyed it!

- So this is a modern retelling of the story of Penelope and Odysseus which can be found in Homer's account in The Odyssey. Penelope and Odysseus are well known and their story is one that has been told many times - this time however we delve much deeper and Margaret Atwood shares the tale of Penelope and her aspiring suitors plus that of the twelve handmaids whom Odysseus executed upon his retu
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David Lentz
I was intrigued to read a woman's point of view focused upon one of the great heroines of Homer's "Odyssey" in Penelope. Homer's work is, of course, an epic masterpiece which has endured for more than four milennia and it is nearly impossible to do justice to this legend of incredible, ancient genius. I was disappointed in several places by Atwood's rather shallow depictions of the characters of both Odysseus and Penelope who were both courageous and brilliant in their own ways in Homer's tale. ...more
Elizabeth
I'm a sucker for Odysseus, as many of you know (once I finish gawain's daughter, I'm planning on writing the Telemakhiad, for example), so I appreciate that this doesn't make him a villian, a wife-beater or somesuch.

There are some excellent moments -- the opening line is brilliant ('Now that I'm dead I know everything'); and the wordplay throughout is superb; the 'gilded blood pudding' simile (trust me, it's good); the relationship between the maids and Telemakhos (although she doesn't expand up
...more
Res
Jul 13, 2007 Res rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, didnt-finish
The one where Penelope tells her story from the Underworld. I made it about sixty pages before the whining got to me.

Presumably the author feels that Penelope deserves better than to be a secondary character. But since, when put on center stage, this universal-victim Penelope never asserts herself, and is chiefly worried about whether people like her and how she's not as pretty as Helen of Troy, I'd say the Odyssey did her a better turn than Atwood did.
Chris
Penelope gets the shaft. Come to think of it so does Clymmenstra. Let’s get that clear before we go any further.

Homer was on to something when the he composed the most famous of all ancient works in the forms of the Iliad and the Odyssey. I doubt he even knew how long the story would last and how often his name would be invoked in despair by students the world over. Today, Troy and its related matter appear in a variety of forms from movies, video games, to various books.

This fame of the story h
...more
Teresa
Apr 27, 2008 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Margaret Atwood has a brilliant mind, and I think this book is a brilliant way to start the Canongate Myth series: with a story that illustrates the various ways a myth can be interpreted.

Who is telling the truth? Is there only one truth? If so, can it be known? This may seem like a slight read, but underneath it has a lot to say about these questions, about the nature of silence and storytelling itself, including unexpected danger when perhaps you think you've got everything covered ...
Ray
Jun 06, 2016 Ray rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
An interesting exploration of the back story behind Homer's tale.

Penelope is left behind when Odysseus goes off to the Trojan war. For ten years of war and then a further ten years of gallivanting around the Med, Penelope waits patiently at home for her man.

Odysseus gets to fight Cyclops, dodge sirens and sleep with goddesses, whilst Penelope brings up their son - and a ravenous set of youths circle around the rich "widow". She gets her maids to see to the amorous suitors whilst desperately seek
...more
Sawsan
Apr 03, 2016 Sawsan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
تُعيد مرجريت آتوود سرد حكاية من حكايات الأساطير اليونانية القديمة
حكاية بينيلوبي زوجة أوديسيوس بطل ملحمة الأوديسة لهوميروس, والتي انتظرت زوجها الغائب لمدة عشرين عام
تحكي بينولوبي من عالم الموتى عن حياتها قبل وبعد الزواج وعلاقتها بزوجها وفترة انتظاره الطويلة ومشاعرها تجاه والديها وابنة عمها هيلين التي كانت السبب في حرب طروادة
وبين فصول الرواية تعرض آتوود حياة خادمات القصور اللي بيعيشوا حياة بائسة ويعانوا من معاملة السادة, لتحقيق العدالة للخادمات اللاتي قتلهن أوديسيوس بعد رجوعه
وجهة نظر جديدة لقصة قدي
...more
Radwa
Jun 15, 2015 Radwa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
أولاً من الأفضل أن تقرأ هذه الرواية بعد قراءة ملحمة الإلياذة والأوديسة لهوميروس، وهو مالم أفعله، وإن كنت سأقرأها قريباً، لكن قراءة الملحمة سيرسم صورة أكبر لقراء هذه الرواية.

تختار أتوود في هذه الرواية -وهو أول عمل أقرأه لها- قصة بينيلوب، ابنة إيكاروس وحورية بحر، الأميرة الإسبرطية،زوجة أوديسوس بطل الملحمة، وتتناول تلك القصة من وجهة نظرها هي، التي -طبقاً لمقدمتها- لا نراها كثيراً ولا تهتم الملحمة بإظهارها بالقدر الكافي.

تتنوع الفصول ما بين قص بينيلوب للرواية وما بين جوقتها الغنائية من خادماتها الاثن
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Anna
Feb 22, 2016 Anna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Το πρώτο βιβλίο της Άτγουντ που διαβάζω και το ύφος της με ενθουσίασε! Σίγουρα στο άμεσο μέλλον θα διαβάσω και κάτι άλλο δικό της (μάλλον θα πιάσω την τριλογία Madadam γιατί άκουσα ότι θα γυριστεί σε σειρά και να είμαι έτοιμη ως σπαστική bookreader --> Αστειεύομαι φυσικά, αλλά αν κάποιος έχει κάτι να προτείνει, καλοδεχούμενη η πρόταση!)

Το παρόν βιβλίο περιγράφει το μύθο του Οδυσσέα και της Πηνελόπης από τη σκοπιά της Πηνελόπης. Μάλιστα, εστιάζει στη δολοφονία των Θεραπαινίδων, η οποία ακολούθ
...more
katie
I tried. I know no one's going to believe me, but I tried to like this, I swear. I didn't, though. Frankly, the fact that I made it through the book is an accomplishment.

I guess it's a classic Margaret Atwood theme that women are mean to each other. And I guess, it's an indictment? That if it's bad when men treat women poorly (and it is), that it's utterly inforgivable when women treat other women poorly. But, I don't know that shoving that theme onto these characters serves anyone very well. No
...more
Kay
Aug 29, 2014 Kay rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in penelope
Initially, I was intrigued by the premise of this book. A modern-day retelling of Homer's The Odyssey, the book is narrated by Penelope, the loyal and steadfast wife who waited for Odysseus's return for twenty years. Atwood shifts the focus to the marginalized female "others," particularly the 12 maids who were hung at Odysseus's return.

For those whose recollections of The Odyssey are cobwebby, a bit of background: After serving in the Trojan War, Odysseus sets sail for home but is sidetracked
...more
Stela
Oct 06, 2015 Stela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I’m not the first to say that, even though I could hardly remember the episode of the twelve maids’ hanging in Penelope’s myth, after reading Margaret Atwood’s Penelopiad I will never forget it again.

As you probably know, this novella was written as part of an ambitious and interesting project called “Canongate Myth Series” and started by the Scottish publishing house Canongate Books, which challenged over a hundred authors to rewrite universal myths. It is said that the first choice of the aut
...more
Anna [Floanne]
Voto: 4.5 stelle

"Ora che sono morta so tutto". Così comincia questo breve romanzo in cui Margareth Atwood riscrive magistralmente il mito del ritorno di Odisseo nella sua Itaca. A parlare, però, questa volta è una voce femminile, Penelope, che finalmente libera dal timore di una punizione divina, può raccontare la sua storia e la sua verità e affrancarsi da quell'iconografia che da millenni la ritrae solo come moglie fedele e madre devota. Penelope ci racconta tutta la sua vita: dalle origini,
...more
Shellie (Layers of Thought)
Original review posted at Layers of Thought.

This story is from the perspective of “the other” - a marginalized female character in the myth. It is told in the first person by Penelope, wife of Odysseus and cousin to Helen of Troy.

Interestingly Atwood tells this in an unusual and layered way. Penelope is in Hades as she tell the story and pieces are conveyed in poem format at the beginning of each chapter, from the perspective of Penelope's 12 maids. These maids are sacrificed by Odysseus on his
...more
Vanessa
Feb 08, 2015 Vanessa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Penelopiad takes on the classic story of The Odyssey by Homer - but from the perspective of Penelope, wife of Odysseus and mother of Telemachus. Having been left behind at home while Odysseus battles in the Trojan War, she must wait for years as he tries to make his way back to her - meanwhile trying to control her arrogant teenage son, battle off one hundred suitors desperate for Odysseus's title, and assert herself over the household she has been left to tend alone.

I loved the way this was
...more
شريف ثابت
Mar 19, 2016 شريف ثابت rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
خلال اليومين اللذين استغرقتهما قراءة هذه الرواية الممتعة، لم تَغِب عن ذاكرتى التجربة القديمة الجميلة التى قدمها العراب د. أحمد خالد توفيق قبل خمسة عشر عاماً فى كُتيِّب "عودة المُحارب"، أحد أعداد سلسلة "فانتازيا" وأعاد فيها سَرد أساطير ومغامرات البطل الإغريقى أوديسيوس من منظور عبير عبد الرحمن بطلة السلسلة والتى خاضت هذه المغامرات التى خلدتها أوديسة هوميروس بدلاً منه، مُتقمِصة شخصية مدام بينلوب، زوجته المُخلِصة.. الأمر الذى يُذكِر بضرورة تقييم المشروع الأدبى التثقيفى الهام الذى أقامه د. أحمد خالد ...more
Whitney Milam
So so so smart. (Obviously, it's Margaret Atwood.) Multiple layers, read-between-the-lines subtlety, and dueling narrators of varying unreliability - all adding up to a brilliant deconstruction of The Odyssey. (Would you expect anything less from Margaret Atwood? NO.)
Sharon
Mar 11, 2008 Sharon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who has read the Odyssey
Recommended to Sharon by: TwitterLit
This slight book is a pleasure. I learned of it through TwitterLit, which sends out the first sentence of books. The first sentence of this one--"Now that I'm dead I know everything."--is contradicted in the next sentence and throughout the book. What we know of Odysseus from Homer is not contradicted but questioned as Penelope recounts her story. And, since she says that both she and Odysseus are "proficient and shameless liars," we are clearly meant to question what we are told. In the end, on ...more
Michelle Tackabery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Giedre
Feb 28, 2016 Giedre rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a re-read after finally reading The Odyssey in its entirety for the first time. Apparently Atwood was haunted by the imagery of the dead maids. I can easily understand why: with their twitching feet, the dead maids don't fade that easily from one's mind. It was interesting to re-read The Penelopiad just to see if my initial opinion on it has changed after reading The Odyssey. I can't say that it has: Penelope remains just a tad too desperate wife for me, just a bit too happy to blame Helen ...more
Felicity
Nov 18, 2008 Felicity rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Felicity by: Jeannine Hall
A very quick read; the inverse of an epic. Atwood writes a rueful and human Penelope, undercutting here and there the heroism of The Odyssey, and undercuts her in her turn with the sharp-tongued Greek Chorus of angry, dead maids. It is partially this interplay -- chapters of Penelope's memories against highly varied poems, songs and prose excerpts from the 'chorusline' of Maids -- that makes it so easy to read the book at a few sittings. Getting two sides of the same story is interesting and ad ...more
Aurora
Feb 05, 2016 Aurora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
All her life Penelope was a good girl, a good mother, a good wife. Now she's on the other side of the river. She has nothing to lose and nothing to gain, nothing to fear; from gods or men.
Now that I'm dead I know everything. This is what I wished would happen, but like so many of my wishes it failed to come true.
Despite her self-proclaimed state of bonelessness, liplessness, breastlessness, I picture Atwood's Penelope somewhat like this: reclining on a velvet couch, smiling like she knows ex
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Marianthi
Jul 14, 2016 Marianthi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Our story begins with Penelope, now long dead, narrating her life story from unwanted baby to a fifteen year old plain Jane with wits who found herself married off to a short dude with a reputation. This is a side to the story you almost never get. And let me tell you, fourth wall breaking Penelope, is my favourite Penelope.

Having grown up in Greece, we were taught 'The Odyssey' at school which is the guaranteed way to make kids hate something even if it's wonderful. However, as it was sort of e
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« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
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  • Binu and the Great Wall
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  • Girl Meets Boy
  • Baba Yaga Laid an Egg
  • Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson
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  • Alcestis
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  • The Lost Books of The Odyssey
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  • A Jest of God
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  • A Short History of Myth
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Margaret Atwood was born in 1939 in Ottawa and grew up in northern Ontario, Quebec, and Toronto. She received her undergraduate degree from Victoria College at the University of Toronto and her master's degree from Radcliffe College.

Throughout her writing career, Margaret Atwood has received numerous awards and honourary degrees. She is the author of more than thirty-five volumes of poetry, childr
...more
More about Margaret Atwood...

Other Books in the Series

Canongate Myth Series (1 - 10 of 18 books)
  • A Short History of Myth
  • Weight: The Myth of Atlas and Heracles
  • The Helmet of Horror: The Myth of Theseus and the Minotaur
  • Lion's Honey: The Myth of Samson
  • Dream Angus: The Celtic God of Dreams
  • Anna In w grobowcach świata
  • Girl Meets Boy
  • Binu and the Great Wall
  • Where Three Roads Meet: The Myth of Oedipus
  • Baba Yaga Laid an Egg

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“Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” 590 likes
“Cleverness is a quality a man likes to have in his wife as long as she is some distance away from him. Up close, he'll take kindness any day of the week, if there's nothing more alluring to be had.” 83 likes
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