Books, Review

Book Review: The Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood ***

book review the penelopiad margaret atwood

For Penelope, Odysseus’s wife, running a kingdom while her husband is away fighting in the Trojan War is no simple matter. Already distressed that he had been lured away because of the shocking behavior of her beautiful cousin Helen, Penelope must also raise her wayward son, face scandalous rumors, and keep more than one hundred lustful, greedy, and bloodthirsty suitors at bay.

Margaret Atwood gives voice to Penelope, one of antiquity’s most infamous heroines, so that she can tell her story at last and set the record straight once and for all.

I had heard a lot of great things about this book and I really wanted more Greek Mythology retellings after enjoying Circe earlier this year. So I picked it up when I came across it on our little day trip to Antwerp.

In this book Penelope tells you her story from Hades’ court (on the other side of the river) and she’s joined by ‘The Twelve Maids’. We hear about her life as a child and her marriage to Odysseus.

I liked the first couple of chapters but quickly realised that this wouldn’t be as hard-hitting as Madeline Miller’s works. It’s not as deep, not as detailed, not as lyrically written. It just didn’t pull me in. I felt like we flew through the story and even though it claims to tell you ‘the whole truth’, I felt like we only got to see a tiny fragment of her life.

So yes, I wanted more. I was left feeling a bit meh… Then again, The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t my cup of tea either. Maybe I’ll just never get along with Margaret Atwood…

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