Tag Archives: Atwood

I Haven’t Made Up My Mind About The Penelopiad

I have mixed feelings about Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad. I appreciate that it wasn’t a time consuming epic nor was it a complex interpretation of the bible, and I did enjoy reading it. I liked how nicely it fit the theme of repetition compulsion, and how it added an alternate interpretation of Penelope and the maids. However, I just can’t make up my mind about it. For instance, I strongly dislike cliches like “a dime a dozen” (page 7) ¬†and I generally dislike this style of relatively sloppy and informal prose (like the beginning of chapter iii on page 7 that starts with “Where shall I begin?”). But in the case of The Penelopiad I think it’s justifiable. The modern and relaxed style of the prose and the language is used to contrast the ancient setting and themes with a modern setting and style. I appreciate that aspect of it, however, those same themes of contrasting the past with the present with the aid of allusions to famous classical literature are fundamental parts of a great number of works of fiction. Of course, that is hardly the only important point in The Penelopiad, but it is the only way I can convince myself to like Atwood’s voice. I unfortunately read through the novella quickly and it is fairly late in the night as I write this. I might be wrong about something, and there is a lot I have not addressed. I still have to think about it more before I can actually determine whether or not I think it is good or bad, and I’m afraid this blog post may have made me seem like an elitist who only reads “sophisticated” literature by authors like Herman Melville and despises more modern (or postmodern) aesthetics, which is not the case.