Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad: ‘A real virtuoso piece’

From The Guardian:Atwood

When children’s novelist Adèle Geras found that she and Margaret Atwood had both chosen the same subject – Odysseus’ wife, Penelope – for their latest books, she looked forward to the chance to talk to her about it.

This is, as I absolutely knew it would be way back in March, a real virtuoso piece. A corker. Fantastic. Intelligent. Every bit as good as promised. I love it and will treasure the very beautiful volume that was sent to me.

I was particularly interested to see where Atwood’s emphases and my own differed and converged. We both, for instance, broken up a prose narrative with poetry. The idea of turning The Odyssey around so that Penelope’s story is foregrounded occurred to us both. In Atwood’s book, Penelope speaks from the land of the dead in a voice that is laconic, humorous and clever. It’s my feeling that this may be how the author herself speaks, but I’ve no way of knowing. Penelope’s weaving is important in both our novels, but I’ve turned Odysseus’ adventures into pictures appearing on his wife’s loom – a notion that originates in Penelope Shuttle’s (yes, really) poem, Penelope. Argos the dog plays a part in my story but not in Atwood’s”.

More here.