Felicity's Reviews > The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
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's review
Nov 18, 08

bookshelves: grad-school, fiction, novel
Recommended to Felicity by: Jeannine Hall
Read in May, 2008

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 addictive.

Update: I lent this book to my grandmother. She sat down at the table, and soon I heard a mordant chuckle. As she finished Chapter 1, she crowed across the room, "I like this book!" The rest of the afternoon, while I ran errands, my nephew spoke his first words and the family spread the news by telephone, Grandma sat there emitting long ripples of laughter, and turned the last page by suppertime. One sitting. That's a recommendation.
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