16 February 2010

17. The Penelopiad

The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus - Margaret Atwood
What an interesting book. This book centers around the events of The Odyssey, but is told from the point of view of Penelope. What makes it more interesting is that the story is told by Penelope 4,000 years after the fact and from her place in Hades.

Penelope had a different take on many of the stories told in the Odyssey and had a some opinions on the people in the story.

I found it hilarous how she would be waiting and waiting for Odysseus to come back to Ithaca. Sailors would come and go with stories of his battles and adventures. Some would say he fought the Cyclops. Others would say, No, it was just a bartender with one eye. Some would say his men were turned into pigs and he was being held captive by Atena and was forced to have sex with her every night. Others would say, No, he was hanging out at a high class brothel with the madam and his men were "acting" like pigs. She had no idea what to believe. It was hilarious.

I also liked the chorus parts. Much like the ancient greek stories, there were interjections from a chorus who spun rhytmic tunes that tell a tale. The chorus in this book was the maids. The very maids whom Odysseus had hanged. Needless to say, they were a little pissed about it and were seriously disgruntled.

The one thing I do wish is that I had read The Odyssey some time within the last 30 years so I would have a better recollection of the story. There were so many off hand comments made about random things that I am sure were relating back to the Odyssey. I missed some of them.

Penelope was really jealous of Helen. The two of them spat again and again for thousands of years. :-)

This book made me chuckle a lot.

I am going to read The Odyssey again. Maybe this year. Then I will reread this book and probably enjoy it even more.

No comments:

Post a Comment