Kkraemer's Reviews > The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
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's review
May 08, 2012

really liked it

This is witty and funny and none of the above. It's the story of Penelope during those long years of waiting for Odysseus, years of managing the palace, thwarting suitors who only wanted her money, raising her son, and waiting. They were interesting years, and the Penelope of Margaret Atwood is both efficient and very much in control of her world. She's angry at Helen, of course, since Helen loves to have men kill each other over her, and she's frustrated by Telemachus as he goes through those lovely years of early adolescence, but basically, here is a woman worth listening to.

She points out, for example, that if she had slept with anyone during those years, she would have been beheaded; however, Odysseus slept with countless women and it was a point of pride.

The not funny part is what happened to the innocent bystanders, the maids that Penelope says she recruited to be her eyes and ears all those years. They're like Rosencrans and Guildenstern: hopeful and clueless, and their toes dangled in the winds for all their troubles.

A great rewrite of the classical story, one that puts things into right and true perspective, I'm sure.

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