Sunday, 11 August 2013

Book Club - The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

I love reading, as you probably know, and one of my grand ideas for this not-so-grand blog was to create a mini online book club!

The idea of joining a book club is quite daunting for me. After being involved in seminars at university, I always feel like I can never articulate how I feel about the way a book has affected me as eloquently as I'd like. Maybe I'm just one of those people who finds writing a lot easier to do than speaking. Once I had the opportunity to write essays, I felt it was fine - but being the introvert I am; I never truly feel comfortable with these things in real life (although I hope this changes as I get older!).

The book I have chosen is a slightly unusual text. After studying Classics at A Level and taking a more successful module at university, my enjoyment of the subject has increased - arguably moreso than English Literature itself. I like the sociohistorical context of it all, and it probably goes without saying - but The Penelopiad is based on Homer's Odyssey, except it is told from the perspective of Penelope - the protagonist's wife. So it will certainly be interesting to see how this neglected character is portrayed in the story, and I am sure that there will be much more to her than we expect; more cunning like the Penelope we see when she's making Laertes' shroud and repeatedly unwinding her work in order to prevent her gaining any unwanted attention from the suitors. So yes, very exciting!

Margaret Atwood is an author whose works I have always wanted to read, but I simply haven't found the perfect opportunity. Her works were never on my reading lists, with the exception of the dystopian module - which I didn't take (I do like dystopian novels, though, for those of you who are curious). I always get told, especially by my feminist friends, how brilliant a writer she is. Apparently she is quirky, innovative and compelling. I guess we shall see.

With the influx of scientific and mathematical texts arriving on my desk, and the rapidly approaching end of Little Women, I am very much looking forward to reading a modern piece of fiction. I love my Victorian novels, I love my studies of science (and at a stretch, maths) but I particularly love the odd novel that I unexpectedly enjoy. I am hoping that The Penelopiad will be one of these novels, or novella, shall I say? I believe it is just over two-hundred pages. Hmm ... I will look into this.

I will leave it a month or so, for those of you who are busy/would like to somehow acquire the book. I'm still waiting for mine to arrive with the post, but it only cost me £2.17 on Amazon (including postage and packaging, amazingly!). I believe it's not Atwood's most famous text, but I have seen copies online and I believe there is also a three-hour unabridged audiobook if you're into that.


Canadian edition

1 comment:

  1. I was The Penelopiad a while ago - it's good but nowhere near as good as The Handmaid's Tale!