“The Penelopiad” is a novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood. It is a retelling of the Greek myth of Odysseus and his wife Penelope from her point of view. The novel is narrated by Penelope, who is in the Underworld after her death. She tells her story to the reader, describing her life as a young girl in Sparta, her marriage to Odysseus, and her life on the island of Ithaca while her husband was away at war. Penelope also gives voice to the twelve maids who were hanged by her husband upon his return to Ithaca. In the original myth, these maids were considered disloyal and unfaithful, but in “The Penelopiad”, Penelope presents a different interpretation of their actions and the consequences they faced. Throughout the novel, Penelope explores themes of gender, power, and storytelling. She reflects on the limited agency she had as a woman in ancient Greece, the ways in which her story has been distorted and appropriated by others, and the importance of telling one’s own story. “The Penelopiad” is a thoughtful and imaginative retelling of a classic myth, giving voice to a female character who has traditionally been overshadowed by her heroic husband. Atwood’s prose […] read more