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Arbie's Unoriginally Titled Book Blog

It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.

Currently reading

Station Zero
Philip Reeve
Progress: 220/282 pages
The Books of Earthsea: The Complete Illustrated Edition
Ursula K. Le Guin, Charles Vess
Progress: 749/997 pages
The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry
Robert Chandler
The Uncertain Land and Other Poems
Patrick O'Brian
Progress: 8/160 pages
The Heptameron (Penguin Classics)
Marguerite de Navarre
Progress: 152/544 pages
The Poems and Plays of John Masefield
John Masefield
Progress: 78/534 pages
Poems Selected
Emily Dickinson, Ted Hughes
Progress: 4/50 pages
Selected Poems
U A Fanthorpe
Progress: 18/160 pages
The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse
Mick Imlah, Robert Crawford
Hainish Novels & Stories, Vol. 2
Ursula K. Le Guin
Progress: 133/789 pages

The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood

The Penelopiad - Margaret Atwood

I was somewhat trepiditious coming to this after The Handmaid's Tale, which, whilst very good, I found to be heavy going. However, Atwood gives the ghost of Penelope a very modern, chatty voice which is very easy to read. Since the book is also short, this disappeared very rapidly!


Penelope delivers a monologue occassionally interrupted by a Chorus - which is the exact structure of early Greek drama. The Chorus consist of the ghosts of the 12 Maids hanged by Odysseus and the book is as much about them as Penelope in some respects.


There's a common theme across this and The Handmaid's Tale of women rendered powerless by the society they live in but trying to assert their humanity nevertheless.