A fascinating retelling of the classic story of Odysseus from the unusual perspective of his wife, Penelope.
ITHAKA tells the story of the women left behind after the end of the Trojan War. While Odysseus is slowly making his way home, overcoming terrible obstacles sent by the gods, his wife Penelope does not know whether he's alive or dead. How long will she be able to withstand the pressure of the numerous suitors who seek her hand (and Ithaka) – and will she remain as faithful as mythology states, or might she fall in love with one of them?
The vivid colours of life on the abundant island of Ithaka are evoked with magic and warmth, as Penelope and those around her tell their own incredible stories. Interspersed with wonderful verse retellings of Odysseus' adventures, this is a thrilling novel with a contemporary feel.
“'An absorbing, sweeping novel that grabs readers from the touching opening page onwards - there's no half-heartedness in Geras' gutsy exploration of the nature of fidelity and love.'”
“'An evocative reworking of a classic tale'”
“'This is like a tapestry, rich in words, smells, colours, and feelings; there is also humour, and the speech is modern and colloquial'”
The Children's Bookseller
“First of the autumn big hitters...of the many versions of Homer's epic, this is the first - with apologies to James Joyce - to do justice to the women in the story. Touching and engaging.”
“'Adele Geras's Ithaka is authentic. It's as worked and reworked as Penelope's weaving as she waits for Odysseus post Troy, but it's seamless.”
“Geras brings the story to life with characters whose behaviour and reactions seem very contemporary...the pace is gentle, and some difficult subjects are handled with sensitivity.”
“Told with insight and compassion.”
“'Offers a compelling sideways glance at the action of Homer's Oddyssey...I'd pretty much defy anyone not to enjoy it...one to look out for.'”
Guardian Unlimited: Culture Vulture