Margret Atwood wrote The Penelopiad for an international project called The Canongate Myth Series, which brings together an array of writers who explore and re-tell timeless myths in a contemporary way. Other Myth writers include Chinua Achebe, Philip Pullman and Alexander McCall Smith.
In this novella, Atwood used the story of The Odyssey to explore the roles Penelope and her maids while Odysseus was gone at war. She explains what Penelope was really up to in the 20 years her husband was at war and why her 12 maids were hung upon Osysseus' return to Ithica. Atwood convincingly gives Penelope a voice that is both strong and progressive.
I was a child who learned early the virtues - if such they are - of self-sufficiency. I knew that I would have to look out for myself in the world. I could hardly count on family support.
I thought this was a fun, interesting read, but it is not Atwood at her best. If you haven't read anything by Atwood yet, I would suggest starting with The Handmaid's Tale or Oryx and Crake. She really is amazing. On the other hand, I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Greek mythology or really loves the classics.
Publisher: Knopf Canada, 2005