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...more
we had no name
we had no choice
we had one face
one face the same
we took the blame
it was no fair
but now w're here
we're all here too
the same as you"
The truly successful myths are those that can be retold over and over from different angles and still speak to a contemporary audience with the same intensity as to past centuries. When Margaret Atwood picked up the story of Penelope and Odysseus, she kept all the familiar ideas, and yet - it is an entirely modern vision, and a modern ...more
Such an enjoyable, quick and surprising retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope's perspective. Nearly everyone knows Odysseus, smart, witty, promiscuous; tackles 1 too many mythical beasts over the decade he is missing on his return from The Trojan War.
Penelope is sassy, intelligent, and more than a little bit pissed off at her cousin Helen for causing this ...more
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 ...more
”We had no voice,
We had no name,
We had no choice,
We had one face,
One face the same"
This book focuses on the story of Penelope and the twelve maids immortalised in myth by the story of Odysseus. This is told from Penelope's point of view as she wonders through the underworld, looking back on events that had taken place in her life.
Penelope in this book is fiercely intelligent, cunning and much more than just the devoted wife as portrayed in Homer's- The Odyssey. It goes through her life as a ...more
But I'm lazy and not in the mood to write a review that deconstructs this whole abysmal mess. However, my good friend Gabby also read this (it was a book group read of ours) and she really takes the time to break things down in her review which I'm linking right here. ...more
As a modern re-telling of the Odyssey, this proves an interesting example of why some things are best left alone, especially if you don't address the topic in a particularly fresh or inventive way. I feel the sting in that, even as I write it, but in truth, I don't see how Atwood moved the needle one bit in re-opening, or ...more
― Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad
I like looking at myths and great literature in another way. I enjoyed the book, but it just wasnt' great Margaret Atwood. It felt a bit dashed-off, almost an afterthought. Great in idea, but just OK in execution.
Things I liked:
1. the conception
2. the re-evaluation of Penelope in conjunction with Helen, Odysseus, Eryurycleia, Telemachus, etc.
3. the re-evaluation of Odysseus
4. the idea of the 12 ...more
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 ...more
A clever idea to feminise one of the most famous of these legends, but the start had some lazy writing;
Where shall I begin? There are only two choices: at the beginning or not at the beginning.
There is also that unfortunate whiff you ...more
- 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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...
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. ...more
It's an OK contemporary retelling and some of it was really good but I think with this it just wasn't for me.
Free arc from netgalley ...more
But I thought the idea of telling Penelope's side of The Odyssey was intriguing, so here we are. And right off the bat I was a bit rattled. But why?
The structure is clever, with Penelope speaking, and then in the next chapter the chorus recites a poem or sings. The chorus being made up of the ghosts of the ...more
(Applauds oneself and pats on the back.)
But putting, irony aside, of course irony and sarcasm only for me and my never ending TBR list, I can say that it was satisfactory read. Not to the point where I could give it 5 stars, but 4 is really close to top for me as well.
I haven't read Homer's The Odyssey (only some paragraphs back in school) which is ...more
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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, ...more