The Penelopiad Background

The Penelopiad Background

Although she is perhaps best-known for book The Handmaid's Tale, Canadian author Margaret Atwood has written many other well-received books. Among those books include The Penelopiad (which was released in 2005), which tells the story Penelope (a character in Homer's The Odyssey). In the book, Penelope looks back on the events Homer discussed in The Odyssey and her role in them, as well as different parts in her life and her relationship with her parents. As well as hearing the events from Penelope's perspective, twelve maids provide some commentary -- most of which is very jovial and unique -- on the events that Penelope discusses throughout the book.

The Penelopiad was an instant bestseller in Canada when it was released. In The United States, however, it wasn't. Still, reviewers in countries all around the world absolutely loved the novella. The Daily Telegraph, for example called the novella "Atwood at her finest" and said the book was "enjoyable and intelligent." The National Post echoed those sentiments, calling the novella a "tour de force." The Washington Post thought differently. They said the novella read like a "failed Monty Python sketch."

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