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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths)

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The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths) Cover

ISBN13: 9781841957982
ISBN10: 1841957984
Condition: Standard
All Product Details

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In Homer's account in The Odyssey, Penelope — wife of Odysseus and cousin of the beautiful Helen of Troy — is portrayed as the quintessential faithful wife, her story a salutary lesson through the ages. Left alone for twenty years when Odysseus goes off to fight in the Trojan war after the abduction of Helen, Penelope manages, in the face of scandalous rumours, to maintain the kingdom of Ithaca, bring up her wayward son, and keep over a hundred suitors at bay, simultaneously. When Odysseus finally comes home after enduring hardships, overcoming monsters and sleeping with goddesses, he kills her suitors and — curiously — twelve of her maids.

In a splendid contemporary twist to the ancient story, Margaret Atwood has chosen to give the telling of it to Penelope and to her twelve hanged Maids, asking: "What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?" In Atwood's dazzling, playful retelling, the story becomes as wise and compassionate as it is haunting, and as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing. With wit and verve, drawing on the storytelling and poetic talent for which she herself is renowned, she gives Penelope new life and reality — and sets out to provide an answer to an ancient mystery.

Review:

"Drawing on a range of sources, in addition to The Odyssey, Atwood scripts the narrative of Penelope, the faithful and devoted wife of Odysseus and her 12 maids, who were killed upon the master's return. Atwood proposes striking interpretations of her characters that challenge the patriarchal nature of Greek mythology. The chapters transition between the firsthand account of Penelope and the chorus of maids as listeners are taken from Penelope's early life to her afterlife. Laural Merlington charmingly delivers the witty and perceptive Penelope with realistic inflection and emphasis. Some of her vocal caricatures seem over the top, but most voices maintain a resemblance to our perceptions of these mythic people. The maids are presented as a saddened chorus by a cloning of Merlington's voice. These dark figures speak straightforwardly in their accusations of Penelope and Odysseus, while, at other times, they make use of rhyming. This format works well, though sometimes the cadence and rhyming scheme are off beat. This benefits the production by creating an eerie resonance and haunting demeanor that enhances this engaging tale." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Along with her presentation of the hallucinatory maids and Penelope's straight talk about her husband...Atwood's brilliance emerges in the skillful way she has woven her own research on the anthropological underpinnings of Homer's epic into the patterns of her own stylized version of the poem." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Here, amid the moon cults and palace of women and the returned king...is fabulous Atwood territory." New York Times

Synopsis:

Telling the story of Homer's Odyssey from the point of view of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids, the bestselling author of Oryx and Crake draws on Greek mythology for Volume 2 in the Myths series.

Synopsis:

Margaret Atwood returns with a shrewd, funny, and insightful retelling of the myth of Odysseus from the point of view of Penelope. Describing her own remarkable vision, the author writes in the foreword, “Ive chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to the twelve hanged maids. The maids form a chanting and singing Chorus, which focuses on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of the Odyssey: What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? The story as told in the Odyssey doesnt hold water: there are too many inconsistencies. Ive always been haunted by the hanged maids and, in The Penelopiad, so is Penelope herself.” One of the high points of literary fiction in 2005, this critically acclaimed story found a vast audience and is finally available in paperback.

About the Author

Nominated for the first ever Man Booker International Prize representing the best writers in contemporary fiction, Margaret Atwood is the author of more than 35 internationally acclaimed works of fiction, poetry and critical essays.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 3 comments:

KateH, September 1, 2011 (view all comments by KateH)
Atwood gives a fresh voice to stolid Penelope in a tale that fits seamlessly next to Homer's. You get what you'd expect from Atwood here: a story worth listening to, intellectual insight, deft yet meaty writing, female perspectives, and light grace notes of humor. An enjoyable and quick read for Greek mythology geeks as much as those new to the tale.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Felicity, November 19, 2008 (view all comments by Felicity)
I lent this book to my grandmother. She sat down at the table to read, and soon I heard a mordant chuckle. As she finished Chapter 1, she crowed across the room, "I LIKE this book!" For the rest of the afternoon, while I ran errands, my nephew spoke his first words and the family spread the news by telephone, Grandma sat there emitting wicked ripples of laughter, and turned the last page by suppertime. One sitting. That's a recommendation.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
dgodzisz, March 17, 2008 (view all comments by dgodzisz)
Margaret Atwood takes a story we have all heard told and retold many times and presents it with such a unique perspective that the ancient becomes remarkably new. This is an intensely powerful read that deserves to be put on the shelf along side your other classics.
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(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781841957982
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Publisher:
Canongate Books
Author:
Atwood, Margaret
Subject:
Folklore
Subject:
Odysseus (Greek mythology)
Subject:
Fairy Tales, Folklore & Mythology
Subject:
Penelope (Greek mythology)
Subject:
Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Subject:
Mythology-Folklore and Storytelling
Copyright:
Edition Description:
First Trade Paper Edition
Series:
Myths, The
Publication Date:
20061031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
224
Dimensions:
7.75 x 5 in 6 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Humanities » Mythology » Classical
Humanities » Mythology » Folklore and Storytelling

The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus (Myths) Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.95 In Stock
Product details 224 pages Canongate Books - English 9781841957982 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Drawing on a range of sources, in addition to The Odyssey, Atwood scripts the narrative of Penelope, the faithful and devoted wife of Odysseus and her 12 maids, who were killed upon the master's return. Atwood proposes striking interpretations of her characters that challenge the patriarchal nature of Greek mythology. The chapters transition between the firsthand account of Penelope and the chorus of maids as listeners are taken from Penelope's early life to her afterlife. Laural Merlington charmingly delivers the witty and perceptive Penelope with realistic inflection and emphasis. Some of her vocal caricatures seem over the top, but most voices maintain a resemblance to our perceptions of these mythic people. The maids are presented as a saddened chorus by a cloning of Merlington's voice. These dark figures speak straightforwardly in their accusations of Penelope and Odysseus, while, at other times, they make use of rhyming. This format works well, though sometimes the cadence and rhyming scheme are off beat. This benefits the production by creating an eerie resonance and haunting demeanor that enhances this engaging tale." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Along with her presentation of the hallucinatory maids and Penelope's straight talk about her husband...Atwood's brilliance emerges in the skillful way she has woven her own research on the anthropological underpinnings of Homer's epic into the patterns of her own stylized version of the poem."
"Review" by , "Here, amid the moon cults and palace of women and the returned king...is fabulous Atwood territory."
"Synopsis" by , Telling the story of Homer's Odyssey from the point of view of Penelope and her 12 hanged maids, the bestselling author of Oryx and Crake draws on Greek mythology for Volume 2 in the Myths series.
"Synopsis" by ,
Margaret Atwood returns with a shrewd, funny, and insightful retelling of the myth of Odysseus from the point of view of Penelope. Describing her own remarkable vision, the author writes in the foreword, “Ive chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to the twelve hanged maids. The maids form a chanting and singing Chorus, which focuses on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of the Odyssey: What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? The story as told in the Odyssey doesnt hold water: there are too many inconsistencies. Ive always been haunted by the hanged maids and, in The Penelopiad, so is Penelope herself.” One of the high points of literary fiction in 2005, this critically acclaimed story found a vast audience and is finally available in paperback.
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