Zaynab Jaffer's Reviews > The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
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Jul 08, 12

Read in May, 2012

The story features Penelope, the wife of Odysseus (a man who in the play The Odyssey participated in the ten-year-long seige to win Helen or Troy back, and then because of pissing off Possiden, spendt another ten years lost at sea before returning home). Very little happened in the novel that caught my interest. I might have put the book down (something I almost never do) if I had not had to read it for school. In all that Penelope did, there was plenty of potential for a more interesting plot, as if the book was a mere outline for the novel itself. The most action in the novel happens at the very end of the novel, when Odysseus returns, but by that time i was so uninterested in the book that i just didn't care. And even that part wasn't at all engaging due to the never-changing tempo. Even novels that arn't very plot-heavy can be extremely good books too, with a greater focus on the characters themselves. The novel was written in first-person, so this was a possibility, however the author did nothing with this. Her most emotional moment was after Penelope's husband leaves, when she is devistated. I can't even use the word devistation, because from her writing i got no sense of this. As I said, the tempo never changed, the character did not seem to be any less happy or more hurt, but was stagnant, with no character-developement throughout the novel as well. I was discussing after reading the book, my dislikes with my teacher, and he said the reason there wasn't emotion was because of the writing style of that era. So i get that the author was trying to write in the style of the era, but her choice in story was not very supportive, having virtually nothing happening in the novel, virtually no plot. Especially considering the fact that there was no character developement and close to no literary devices utilized. If this is an indication of Atwood's writing style, I don't want to read any other of her books for fear that they will be like this one.
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