Review: The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

I didn’t mean to be gone for a week. Sometimes life happens. Sometimes you go on vacation and come home to find snow, a full mailbox at work, and bad news at your SO’s job. Sometimes the stress that comes with working, taking care of yourself, and being there for your person is too much. That is when things like blogging fall by the wayside. 

I’ll have an update about bookish things to do (and eat) in Nashville later this week, but I thought I would get back to basics with your regularly scheduled Monday review. 

In other news, I saw Madeline Miller this week. Again, post forthcoming, but in preparation I decided to dive further into myth retellings. Having read all of Miller’s work multiple times I jumped a bit outside my comfort zone. 

Several years ago Margaret Atwood took on Penelope’s story. Having never enjoyed Atwood I was skeptical, but a sick day led me to devour The Penelopiad. 

The Penelopiad is more than just The Odyssey from Odyessus’ wife’s perspective. Sure, you get to see the years she was alone on Ithica and her time at her loom, but as readers we also get to experience her cleverness. There is exposition in her early life and insight into her relationship to her cousin, Helen, who’s part in the Trojan war ruined Penelope’s life. What’s more is that this short novella takes place entirely in the underworld. The entire story is told from the end point, death. There is also a greek chorus that is deeply disturbing but very moving. 

Overall if you are a fan of The Odyssey, Mythological retellings, solid female characters, and lots of feelings please check out The Penelopiad.

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