This is a retelling of the myth of Penelope and Odysseus from Penelope’s point of view.  Atwood draws on other material (other than the Odyssey) to fill in the details of Penelope’s life we do not hear from Homer.  Atwood also includes a second story line regarding the 12 hanged maids and what lead to their hangings.

When this book opens we are joined by Penelope who is now in the realm of the dead.  She recounts what “really happened” while Odysseyus was gone – dispelling the rumors that have been spread for years.  She also tells how the twelve maids who were killed were in fact her co conspirators in warding off potential suitors. 

This book is good for those familiar with the Odyssey, but would be confusing for those who are not.