Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

The Basics: The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood, 2005, 199 pages, hardcover, part of the 'Acclaimed Myths' series (re-telling of myths)

What it's about: A re-telling of Homer's The Odyssey from the perspective of Odysseus' wife Penelope. Atwood uses her usual feminist slant and dry humour to give a totally different take on this classic. Penelope basically just gives us her life history, as she sees it. Atwood also uses the Greek literary device of the chorus, in this case a role given to Penelope's 12 maids, which makes reading the book more varied since there is more than one perspective.

Did I like it?: Hard to say. I have to admit that I haven't read any Homer, although I am familiar with the story. I picked up this book just because it was Atwood, and also I suppose, because it re-told a story that I thought could do with some re-telling. Atwood told the story in a tongue-in-cheek, flippant manner, which I enjoyed, and managed to sneak in some fairly humourous scenes. Not my favourite Atwood book... perhaps one step above 'just okay' would be my rating.

Will you like it?: If you are a die-hard Atwood fan, or a fan of feminist literature, you'll probably enjoy this. Or maybe if you like Homer and want a different perspective it will be worth a read. Otherwise I'd say it doesn't really make a good bedtime read, but if you are into more serious reading, give it a shot.

But don't take my word for it: Editorial reviews, other regular people reviews.

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