The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
The Penelopiad: Book summary and reviews of The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood
The Penelopiad Summary
Homer's Odyssey is not the only version of the story. Mythic material was originally oral, and also local -- a myth would be told one way in one place and quite differently in another. I have drawn on material other than the Odyssey, especially for the details of Penelope's parentage, her early life and marriage, and the scandalous rumors circulating about her. Ive chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to the twelve hanged maids. The maids form a chanting and singing Chorus, which focuses on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of the Odyssey: What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? The story as told in the Odyssey doesn't hold water: there are too many inconsistencies. Ive always been haunted by the hanged maids and, in The Penelopiad, so is Penelope herself." -- from Margaret Atwood's Foreword to The Penelopiad. For more about this series see A Short History of Myth, also in this issue.
The Penelopiad Reviews
"While the story isn't new, Atwood's approach reminds us that there are endlessly original ways to tell it. Grade A." - Entertainment Weekly.
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Margaret Atwood Author Biography
Margaret Atwood was born in Ottawa, Ontario, in 1939. She is the daughter of a forest entomologist, and spent part of her early years in the bush of North Quebec. She moved, at the age of seven, to Toronto. She studied at the University of Toronto, then took her masters degree at Radcliffe College, Massachusetts, in 1962.
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