Friday, July 22, 2005

On my list

New books from a couple of my favourite authors! I'm looking forward to Christmas...

Margaret Atwood
The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus
November 2005

From Atwood's introduction to the book:
Homer’s Odyssey is not the only version of the story. Mythic material was originally oral, and also local — a myth would be told one way in one place and quite differently in another. I have drawn on material other than The Odyssey, especially for the details of Penelope’s parentage, her early life and marriage, and the scandalous rumours circulating about her.

I’ve chosen to give the telling of the story to Penelope and to her twelve hanged maids. The Maids form a chanting and singing Chorus which focuses on two questions that must pose themselves after any close reading of The Odyssey: what led to the hanging of the maids, and what was Penelope really up to? The story as told in The Odyssey doesn’t hold water: there are too many inconsistencies. I’ve always been haunted by the hanged maids; and, in The Penelopiad, so is Penelope herself.

(Crap. Now I have to read The Odyssey.)

Paul Auster
Brooklyn Follies
December 2005

From an early review (via Rake's Progress):
Brooklyn Follies is a big box filled to the brim with little boxes — and reading upends the big box over your head. Each box has a story and — there are hundreds of them, competing for your attention and ... it can get a little bewildering. And in the midst of the tumbling boxes, you have [main character] Nathan saying oh hang on, let me tell you this first, let me tell you that, we'll talk about her later, forget about them for now etc etc etc. There's a deliberate clumsiness to proceedings which (you feel) is Auster trying on clothes for size (writing a warm book, a la Ian McEwan with Saturday) that don't quite fit or suit.


Suzanne said...

Read the Odyssey!

Anonymous said...

The Fagles translation is considered best these days. Fitzgerald is good too. Lattimore is generally considered unreadable, although it's the one I was raised on.

e_journeys said...

I've read the Fitzgerald, though prefer the Iliad to the Odyssey. (But that was 20 years ago; might think differently now.)

Adding Penelopiad to my reading list. I love Atwood's books, and also retellings from women's POVs (which I suppose should really be PsOV) -- e.g., Anita Diamant's The Red Tent and Sena Jeter Naslund's Ahab's Wife.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the heads up on Paul Auster's new book. He's on my "buy hardcover" list. Margaret Atwood is great, too, though I often wait for her to come out in paperback (I am very exclusive about who I pay $25(US) for).

Isabella K said...

I can't think of many authors who are hardcover-worthy. I think I judge their worth on a book-by-book basis. I have Atwood hardcovers, received as gifts, but I would've happily waited for the paperbacks. I've spent my own hard-earned cash on Auster.

Anonymous said...

Auster is worth every single penny. And then some.