Review of "The Penelopiad"

The Penelopiad, by Margaret Atwood. ISBN 1-84195-704-6.

Atwood turns her curious eyes on the ending of the Odyssey, where Odysseus returns to his faithful wife Penelope and slaughters suitors and serving maids, and gives us Penelope's side of the story. Or, rather, Penelope's and the serving maids' sides, more than one apiece, with some crucial matters left -- perhaps -- open and ambiguous.

Despite its heavy-weight antecedents, and despite the serious points it has to make, this is a light-hearted book, short and charming and entertaining. It's one of the first of what promises to be a large series of retellings of famous myths, and was presumably written to order, but is none the worse for it.

The writing is always good (how could it not be, from an author as accomplished as Atwood) and occasionally magnificent.