Margaret Atwood is among the most-honored authors of fiction in recent history. While she is best known for her work as a novelist, her poetry is noteworthy. Many of her poems have been inspired by myths, and fairy tales, which were an interest of hers from an early age. One of her more recent books,The Penelopiad, is a compilation of poetic ring chants and Homeric similes.
In this novel, she documents Penelope's account of Homer's The Odyssey and how she coped with her husband's twenty year absence. Although this is not the most entertaining and captivating piece of literature, Atwood's use of mythological references keeps students with historic mindsets intrigued. Her incorporation of Greek mythology helps to enhance prior knowledge of well-known myths and legends.
Catherine Taylor of Independent on Sunday says that "Atwood introduces a new and significant angle to Penelope's narrative -- the insistent chorus of her 12 maids...the distressing image of their execution...recurs throughout Atwood's account, as in turn she utilizes poetry, burlesque, mock trial and, less successfully, dour sociological tract." If you're someone who's interested in mythology or simply hearing the thoughts of someone who's seen it all then The Penelopiad is the novel for you. Wouldn't you like to see the past from someone else's eyes? - Kali, Aubrey, Lisa, Jackie, Danielle, class of 2009