The Penelopiad

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October 26, 2005 at 04:00 AM EDT

Canongate’s brilliant new Myth Series invites prominent authors to rewrite classic tales as modern novellas. Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin) revisits long-suffering Penelope and meandering Odysseus as an alternately tragic and hilarious example of marriage in The Penelopiad. She channels Penelope by way of Absolutely Fabulous; one can imagine her chain-smoking and swilling wine between cracks about the weakness of men and the misery they visit upon women. (Thank goodness for veils, ”a practical help for disguising red, puffy eyes.”) While the story isn’t new, Atwood’s approach reminds us that there are endlessly original ways to tell it.

The Penelopiad

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The Penelopiad

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