the penelopiad


'Who is to say that prayers have any effect? On the other hand, who is to say they don't? I picture gods, diddling around on Olympus, wallowing in the nectar and ambrosia and the aroma of burning bones and fat, mischievous as a pack of ten-year-olds with a sick cat to play with and a lot of time on their hands. "Which prayer shall we answer today?" they ask one another. "Let's cast dice! Hope for this one, despair for that one, and while we're at it, let's destroy the life of that woman over there by having sex with her in the form of a crayfish!" '


The Penelopiad
(Page 135)



When i added The Penelopiad to my Shelfari 'To Read' list i wasn't aware it was part of a series.
I was purely drawn in by the combination of Margaret 'freaking' Atwood and greek myths.
Sounded like a good time to me.
And i wasn't wrong.
The gist of the Myths series is: Canongate approached a number of respected authors to not re-write classic folk tales, legends, fables, myths etcetera but put their own personal spin on them.
...
Awesomeness ensued.
And lucky for me there are already 15 re-scoped myths in print.
(nice hardback print if you're into that sort of thing)
Hello, 14 more books of bastardised in the best way mythical literature, we're gonna be spending some quality time together.

I'm happy to have started with Margaret Atwood.
I can't say she's one of my favourite writers but only because as of now, i've only read three of her many books: Alias Grace, The Handmaid's Tale, The Penelopiad.
And i only enjoyed two out of the three.
But i really enjoyed them.
Atwood has the right amount of intelligence and acerbic wit to take the famous tale of Odysseus and his bride, Penelope and play a little narrative reversal with the leading characters.
For once we get an insight into the much esteemed Penelope's thoughts and fears whilst she waited for her elusive husband to return from war and kept her multiple suitors at bay.
She mainly seemed to think they were a bunch of moronic neanderthals.
Her husband included.
And who could blame her really.
Atwood's retelling is very much a 'fuck you' to Homer for the lack of depth he bestowed upon the women of his tale.
The men charge off for the greater good while the women stay home and tend house.
Atwood informs us otherwise.