“Behave like water, I told myself. Don’t try to oppose them. When they try to grasp you, slip through their fingers. Flow around them”
For Penelope, wife of Odysseus, maintaining a kingdom while her husband was off fighting the Trojan war was not a simple business. Already aggrieved that he had been lured away due to the shocking behaviour of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must bring up her wayward son, face down scandalous rumours and keep over a hundred lustful, greedy and bloodthirsty suitors at bay…
And then, when Odysseus finally returns and slaughters the murderous suitors, he brutally hangs Penelope’s twelve beloved maids. What were his motives? And what was Penelope really up to?
Critically acclaimed when it was first published as part of Canongate’s Myth series, and following a very successful adaptation by the RSC, this new edition of The Penelopiad sees Margaret Atwood give Penelope a modern and witty voice to tell her side of the story, and set the record straight for good.
“Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives.”
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“As potent as a curse.”
Lucy Hughes Hallett
“Atwood takes Penelope’s part with tremendous verve…she explores the very nature of mythic story-telling.”
“Atwood’s typical wit and vim on fine display: with the late maids providing a Greek chorus, Penelope swoops across the centuries to pithily slate her cousin Helen of Troy, judge Odysseus and even provide a feminist viewpoint of which Homer could nary have dreamt.”
“Pragmatic, clever, domestic, mournful, Penelope is a perfect Atwood heroine.”
Nominated for the inaugural 2005 Man Booker Prize International Prize, which recognizes one writer for his or her outstanding achievement in fiction, Margaret Atwood is the author of more than thirty-five internationally acclaimed works of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her numerous awards include the Governor General’s Award for The Handmaid’s Tale, and the Giller Prize and ItalianIl Premio Litterario Internazionale Mondello for Alias Grace. The Handmaid’s Tale, Cat’s Eye, Alias Grace and Oryx and Crake were all shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, which she won with The Blind Assassin. She is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada has been awarded the Norwegian Order of Literary Merit and the French Chevalier dans l’Order des Arts et des Lettres and is a Foreign Honorary Member for Literature of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She lives in Toronto.