The Penelopiad is a retelling of the myth of Odyssus and Penelope. Its a rather short book in comparison to most of Margaret Atwood’s books. And having always been impressed with her writing beginning with the Handmaid’s Tale, I took it home from the library to indulge in.
Its a well written tale, as one would expect from Margaret. She tells the tale from the voice of Penelope, which gives it a very different flavor than the original myth. Helen is not painted in the most complimentary air. She is a pompous, vain and spiteful creature. Though the story only touches on her for a few short spots.
Though I do have to say that I scratched my head when it came time for the slave girls to tell their part of the tale. The tone and style were totally out of context from my perspective and it struck me more as a place to throw in a soapbox diatribe. As far as I was concerned, it put a sour flavor to the story and should have been written in a very different way.
The tale is interesting, but not as enjoyable as I have come to expect from Margaret’s more “original” tales. It is not on one of my highly recommended book lists, which is unfortunate as she has always been one of my favorite authors.