Sunday, January 30, 2011

Penelope's Daughter



Penelope's Daughter
Author Laurel Corona

With her father Odysseus gone for twenty years, Xanthe barricades herself in her royal chambers to escape the rapacious suitors who would abduct her to gain the throne. Xanthe turns to her loom to weave the adventures of her life, from her upbringing among servants and slaves, to the years spent in hiding with her mother's cousin, Helen of Troy, to the passion of her sexual awakening in the arms of the man she loves. And when a stranger dressed as a beggar appears at the palace, Xanthe wonders who will be the one to decide her future-a suitor she loathes, a brother she cannot respect, or a father who doesn't know she exists...

Review: The story set up begins a little slow but picks up pace as the tale evolves.  I believe this is due to the necessary background given early on and also, the age of the main character, Xanthe.  The background given is of great consequence and enriches the reader’s attachment and sympathy for the main character later in the story.  I encourage readers to stick with it and enjoy the journey; after all, The Odyssey inspired Penelope’s Daughter.  The tale of Penelope's Daughter truly begins when Xanthe leaves for Sparta.  The portrayal and female point of view, especially when it comes to this story, is exquisitely executed.  It shows the vulnerability, fears, exploitations, but also the strength, wiles and cunning awareness that women possessed and used to survive.  A wonderful depiction of beauty and strength with a feminist revolutionary edge, but not unrealistic for the time.  There are some beautiful depictions of celebrations, especially those pertaining to womanhood.  I believe the Goddesses would be pleased.  Laurel Corona successfully messes with Homer’s epic by bringing to light the bonds of women:  their friendships, loyalty, fears, love, sexuality and the differences that separate them from men in the ancient world.  This is a perspective rarely shown and it was superbly rendered and a pleasure to experience.  Bravo!
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