Tag Archives: historical fiction

The Penelopiad

I can always count on Margaret Atwood to write something completely crazy and yet somehow profound.  The Penelopiad tells the story of the Odyssey, but from the point of view of Penelope and the twelve maids whom Telemachus killed for suspected disloyalty.

My favourite parts are when Penelope rants about Helen (as in “of Troy”) because she was actually a total bitch and completely full of herself.  It’s nice to see women being all catty even thousands of years ago.

The Persian Boy

I’ve been reading a lot of good contemporary novels, and I am so glad!  I’ve been on a sort of classics spree so it’s nice to read something current and enjoyable every once in a while.

This book is a very well-researched historical account of Alexander’s “boy” (that is, his, ahem, young male consort, and that’s Alexander as in “the Great”).  I could see how this could turn off a lot of people, even people who aren’t necessarily homophobic.  It’s a lot to stomach if you think too much about the subject matter.  But it’s not about that, really.  It’s more about love and loyalty and passion.  It’s beautiful to see Alexander’s passion and strength and also his weaknesses.  The boy is really admirable; I feel like Renault really delved not only into the historical facts but the culture and the mindset of Persia and Macedon.

It’s really well written and a wonderful story.