ADDRESSES: Agent—David R. Godine, Publisher, 9 Hamilton Place, Boston, MA 02108-4715.
CAREER: Poet and archivist.
The Penelopeia: A Novel in Verse, illustrated by Heather Hurst, David R. Godine (Boston, MA), 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Jane Rawlings's The Penelopeia: A Novel in Verse is written in unrhymed free verse and recounts the epic adventure that Penelope, wife of Odysseus, embarked upon after her wandering husband finally returned home after a decade. Compelled by her twin daughters, Penelope now embarks on an odyssey of her own, traveling with her children to the Pythian oracle to learn what the family's fate shall be.
Commenting on the 3,000-year-old story, critics expressed admiration for Rawlings's compelling feminist retelling. "The author turns a potentially dry, academic conceit into vibrant fiction," a reviewer for Publishers Weekly claimed, "bringing to new life the female figures who played a pivotal role in one of the seminal works of world literature." A Kirkus Reviews contributor praised Rawlings's novel as "cleverly conceived and nicely written in noble cadences," while in Booklist Patricia Monaghan compared The Penelopeia to Richard Lattimore's acclaimed translations of Homer, writing that in her "startlingly inventive book . . . perfectly blending form, style, and content," Rawlings "makes an unforgettable character out of a mythic cypher."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May, 2003, Patricia Monaghan, review of The Penelopeia: A Novel in Verse.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 2003, review of ThePenelopeia, p. 565.
Publishers Weekly, April 28, 2003, review of ThePenelopeia, p. 48.*