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

by Margaret Atwood | Other |
ISBN: 1841957984 Global Overview for this book
Registered by MarysGirl of Brooklyn, New York USA on 10/19/2006
Buy from one of these Booksellers: | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon DE | Amazon FR | Amazon IT |
This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
10 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by MarysGirl from Brooklyn, New York USA on Thursday, October 19, 2006
Enjoyed this retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope's POV. Short, punchy and to the point about a man abandoning his family, then murdering a bunch of innocent women when he returns.

Journal Entry 2 by MarysGirl from Brooklyn, New York USA on Friday, July 20, 2007
On its way to DoveiLibri as an RABAK. Enjoy!

Journal Entry 3 by wingDove-i-Libriwing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Monday, July 23, 2007
Rec'd in the mail today! Thank you so much for the RABCK in honor of your 300th book registered! I can't wait to get to this! It looks like a lot of fun!

October 16, 2007: This book has been moved to the "short list!" Actually, though, that is STILL quite a formidable pile, but at least it's starting to see the light of day! You should see another journal entry sooner or later, maybe even sooner THAN later!!!

November 30, 2007: Next to be read! Will be sent out as a RABCK when I'm done!

December 4, 2007: Finished today! Oh, what fun! An old story (had me running for my old classic lit texts) with a feminist twist, and a fresh new voice! Thanks for sharing! I've searched wishlists, the few who listed this have not responded to P.M.s ... will announce on the BookRing forum.

Journal Entry 4 by wingDove-i-Libriwing from Cape Coral, Florida USA on Thursday, December 06, 2007
Putting together a book ray. So far, this is the list of participants:
AriesGirl29 in Tennessee, shipping Pref: Anywhere!
Lucy-Lemon in the UK, Shipping Pref: Anywhere!
ArabellaFigg in the UK, Shipping Pref: ?
PlaytheMan in Queensland Australia, Shipping Pref: Anywhere!
Meexia in Singapore, No Shipping Preference noted

Released 13 yrs ago (12/10/2007 UTC) at -- By Hand or Post, Ray/ring, RABCK, Meet-up in Fort Myers, Florida USA


RELEASE NOTES: Sent to AriesGirl29 in Tennessee via media mail on December 10, 2007 to start our bookray!

Journal Entry 6 by ariesgirl29 on Saturday, December 15, 2007
Yay! Got today - have a few to read but will get this on it's way soon! Thanks for including me!

Journal Entry 7 by ariesgirl29 on Sunday, January 20, 2008
Almost done and have sent a PM to lucy-lemon to get this out to the UK! Thanks again for including me!

Journal Entry 8 by ariesgirl29 on Thursday, January 31, 2008
On its way to Lucy-lemon - enjoy!

Journal Entry 9 by lucy-lemon from Llandudno, Wales United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 13, 2008
This arrived this morning, just as I was whinging about not having anything to read. Can't wait to read this, have been wanting to for ages and ages! :-D

Finished this yesterday. It's a short read, but a really, really good one! I've always liked Atwood's novels, and I think this is one of my new favourites. I loved the way the maids are used as a chorus, and I'm really going to have to read some of the classical myths now! Thanks for sharing the book :-)

18/02 - sent to ArabellaFig

Journal Entry 10 by ArabellaFigg from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Book arrived this morning, thankyou Lucy-Lemon! Will start it as soon as I've finished my current read.

Journal Entry 11 by ArabellaFigg from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, February 20, 2008
A quick read, but I really enjoyed it! Atwood is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.

Journal Entry 12 by ArabellaFigg from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, February 21, 2008
Posted to PlaytheMan today.

Journal Entry 13 by playtheman from Rangeville, Queensland Australia on Monday, February 25, 2008
The Penelopiad (my first look at Margaret Atwood) has arrived without any apparent jet lag. After reading the comments of other BCXrs I believe I'll mark this as for reading to ptw after our present one is finished.

Journal Entry 14 by playtheman from Rangeville, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, March 19, 2008
I didn't read this book however I hope it is enjoyable for meexia. Look for it arriving shortly after Easter.

Journal Entry 15 by meexia from City of London, Greater London United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Just got this book a couple of days ago. Thanks for the nice postcard playtheman, and MarysGirl for sharing the book! Hope to read this soon. I will take my time since I'm the last one on the list. It'll definitely travel again once it's time :)

Journal Entry 16 by meexia from City of London, Greater London United Kingdom on Friday, May 23, 2008
Read the book a while ago and sending it to bearyfriend today.


I’m not sure if you could really enjoy the story if you’re not familiar with the original story, the main or side characters, etc. There are quite a few mentions about the other gods, goddesses, and creatures of the mythology, without a lot of explaining. For myself, I was a total fan of Greek mythology. I used to read a bunch of them all the time back when I was in primary school and mid school. Coincidentally, I also just watched the movie of Odysseus and Penelope, so the story was still very fresh on my mind.

The book started strong for me. I thought, great, this is exactly my kind of book! Mythology (fairy tale, or folktale) with a twist, or variation of it. After a while though, I got a bit bored. Penelope in the book is just exactly what I imagined her to be, so are most of the other characters, so I didn’t experience any new revelations or surprises. I thought the most interesting parts are Penelope’s private thoughts and musings, and her relations to Helen.

My complete take here

Update 29/05: Just dropped the book in the mailbox today.

Journal Entry 17 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Saturday, May 31, 2008
Book arrived, thanks. I'm now in holiday mood so not into reading anything now. Will read when I return from trip.

Journal Entry 18 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Friday, July 04, 2008
Started today and finished reading - easy read and so funny in the modern twist with the court case and the never-ending reincarnation. Didn't know that Greek immortals also believe in Hades and the Waters of Forgetfulness haha. Yes, as per Meexia, there're some mentions about other gods & goddesses like Zeus, Anticleia, Icarius and Tyndareus etc... which intrigues me enough to want to go get the Odyssey by Homer immediately, and read more on Greek Mythologies. Basically this is a woman's side of her story venting out her woes & grieviances hoping others will see that she's actually being wronged in history.

This is the 2nd modern version of Greek myths I've read. First one was Orfe about the love between Orpheus (Orfe) and Euridice (Yuri).

Journal Entry 19 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Saturday, July 12, 2008
Trading to manola-pacifico.

Journal Entry 20 by bearyfriend from Singapore, Singapore Singapore on Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Book on its way to manola-pacifico via surface mail. Enjoy reading.

Journal Entry 21 by manola-pacifico from Reno, Nevada USA on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Sent by a lovely Book Crosser in Singapore as a trade.

Journal Entry 22 by manola-pacifico from Reno, Nevada USA on Monday, October 20, 2008
This was very different than what I usually read. I enjoyed it, but not nearly as much as Margaret Atwood's other books.

Journal Entry 23 by akosikulot at Panabo City, Davao del Norte Philippines on Thursday, February 03, 2011
Received yesterday from manola-pacifico as a requested RABCK as I'm reading the Canongate Myths - thank you very much! Looking forward to reading my third book of the Canongate Myths!

Journal Entry 24 by akosikulot at Panabo City, Davao del Norte Philippines on Tuesday, February 22, 2011
"Even an obvious fabrication is some comfort when you have few others." - Thoughts on The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

Ah, Margaret Atwood. I've only read two of your works - your quite obscure short story collection, Bluebeard's Egg, and this retelling of The Odyssey from Penelope's point of view - and still I know for certain I will love the rest. I have yet to read your award-winning books, but I will hold on to The Penelopiad and claim it as my favorite of yours (so far).

"Half-Dorothy Parker, half-Desperate Housewives," so says the blurb from The Independent (UK), and while I haven't read anything by Dorothy Parker and am no big fan of Desperate Housewives, I will go on a limb here and assume they must be really great, to be half-and-half of something as wonderful as this book.

Written in two alternating forms - in a narration and in varying styles of poetry, for isn't Atwood known for both? - The Penelopiad is the story of the loyal and cunning Penelope, Odysseus' wife, who really isn't all that popular or well-known in Greek literature as her husband (I didn't even know about her until I read the book, but then again I haven't read The Odyssey - such a shortcoming, I know). She is sassy, in a refined sort of way; she is hilarious, the kind that makes you want to guffaw but for some reason you try to stifle it all in a prolonged chuckle. Penelope is sarcastic and ironic and grave and serious, and she makes you laugh even though she's sad, and I am still in awe with how Atwood perfected such a voice. Penelope is a character that is such a character, if you know what I mean.

The story is told by Penelope herself (the narration) and by her twelve maids - the twelve maids who were hanged by Odysseus upon his return after years of absence - as a sort of Chorus that kept asking one question: why were they hanged? And here we find out that The Odyssey is plagued with intrigue; that upon closer inspection, it wasn't just about Odysseus and his adventures. That maybe, just maybe, Penelope wasn't the quintessential faithful wife history claims her to be. "What can a woman do when scandalous gossip travels the world? If she defends herself, she sounds guilty."

There so much duality in The Penelopiad: the styles of writing, the versions of each episode in the story, the characters themselves. Well, everything and everyone except Odysseus, I guess - known as a trickster, a great persuader, a liar and a con-man, which he all is, consistently, even to his own wife. And she to him, maybe, could be.

"The two of us were - by our own admission - proficient and shameless liars of long standing. It's a wonder either one of us believed a word the other said.

But we did.

Or so we told each other."

Ultimately, The Penelopiad makes you think of how the truth is obscured by the passing of time, and how nothing is ever reliable, not even one's self.

PS. In keeping with Atwood's everything-isn't-what-it's-said-to-be, Helen of Troy - who happens to be Penelope's cousin - is quite the little bitch.

Originally posted here.

Journal Entry 25 by akosikulot at Potential BookCrossers, Bookring -- Controlled Releases on Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Released 10 yrs ago (2/23/2011 UTC) at Potential BookCrossers, Bookring -- Controlled Releases


BookCrossing: the practice of leaving a book in a public place to be picked up and read by others, who then do likewise.

Guess what - you've caught a travelling book! Welcome to BookCrossing, where you can follow the journeys of books released into the world.

How it works: The book in your hands has been registered on BookCrossing and has been assigned a BookCrossing ID number (BCID). Since you've caught and entered the book's BCID, you may make a journal entry below - let us know how and where you found it, maybe even tell us what you thought about the book, but most especially, let us know that one of our books is in good hands (if you wish to remain anonymous, you may opt for the AnonymousFinder option).

It's completely free to join, and I hope you'd consider placing akosikulot or whoever wild-released or sent you the book as your referring member.

BookCrossing is free to use, fun, and can be anonymous! READ AND RELEASE! Happy reading!


I'm passing this book, along with two other books in the Canongate Myths, to friends (and potential BookCrossers - fingers crossed!) as a sort of mini-bookring, because I loved the series so much and wanted them to know about it.

Hi guys! I'm pretty sure your curiosity will get the best of you and you'll check out those BCIDs - I hope you'd take the time to make a journal (you can choose the AnonymousFinder option if you want) to let me and the previous readers of the book know where it's traveled! I hope you enjoy the book as much as we did. :)

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