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The Penelopiad

The Myths series gathers a diverse group of the finest writers of our time to provide a contemporary take on our most enduring myths. From the outset the idea was to approach writers from around the world and invite them to retell any myth in any way they chose. I n Homer's account, Penelope's story is the salutary tale of the constant wife. It is she who rules Odysseus's kingdom of Ithaca during his twenty-year absence at the Trojan War; she who raises their wayward son and fends off over a hundred insistent suitors. When Odysseus finally returns-having vanquished monsters, slept with goddesses and endured many other well-documented hardships-he kills the suitors and also, curiously, twelve of Penelope's maids. In a splendid contemporary twist, Margaret Atwood tells the story through Penelope and her twelve hanged maids, asking: 'What led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to?' It's a dazzling, playful retelling, as wise and compassionate as it is haunting; as wildly entertaining as it is disturbing.
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About the Author

Margaret Atwood's books have been published in over thirty-five countries. She is the author of more than thirty works, which include fiction, poetry and critical essays. Oryx and Crake is her eleventh novel, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2003, as was The Handmaid's Tale, Cat's, and Alias Grace. Her novel, The Blind Assassin won the 2000 Booker Prize. She lives in Toronto with writer Graeme Gibson.


Conceived by Canongate publisher Jamie Byng and launched this year by 30 publishers worldwide, this series will offer the retelling of favorite myths by leading authors from A.S. Byatt to Donna Tartt. Armstrong weighs in with a concise (and, one suspects, insightful) history. Byng expects the final volume to appear in 2038. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

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