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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 more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 129 x 197 x 26mm | 294g
  • Random House Children's Publishers UK
  • Corgi Childrens
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552547999
  • 9780552547994
  • 867,823

Review Text

A companion piece for the author's Troy (2001)-and another definitive example of storytelling so character-driven that nearly everything happens either offstage or within the hearts and minds of, mostly, the female characters. The dominant theme is "waiting beneath thickening clouds of doubt." As sad, gentle Penelope waits for her beloved Odysseus to return from Troy, her hot-headed son Telemachus waits to turn the age at which he can set out in search of his father, fuming at a crowd of leering, bestial suitors who wait impatiently for Penelope to choose a new husband. Even the dog Argos waits, his life unnaturally prolonged by one of the several gods and goddesses who wander freely in and out of view. Meanwhile, for the younger characters, there's plenty of growing up, of falling into both love and lust, of anger, tears, hand-wringing, intrigue and anguish-though it all seems distant, conveyed with almost ritualistic language in Geras's measured prose. Her attempts to counter the gathering monotony with occasional breaks into modern idiom (Telemachus: "These bastards can't be allowed to get away with stuff like that"), a gratuitous murder and even a secret, tender lover for Penelope are ineffective; not even the concluding bloodbath following Odysseus' eventual return dispels the inertia of this leaden take. (Fiction. YA) (Kirkus Reviews)show more

About Adele Geras

ADELE GERAS was born in Jerusalem and travelled widely as a child. She started writing over twenty-five years ago and is the author of many titles for young readers, including one previous title for the Corgi Pups list Chalk and Cheese and the four Cats of Cuckoo Square titles for Young Corgi. Married with two daughters, she lives in more

Review quote

"An absorbing, sweeping novel that grabs readers from the touching opening page onwards - there's no half heartedness" The Bookseller "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" Guardian "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" TES "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" Writeaway!show more

Back cover copy

Penelope, faithful and devoted wife of Odysseus, has been waiting for more than ten years for her husband to return to their home, Ithaka, a beautiful island in the blue waters of the Ionian Sea. There has been no word from him since the end of the war in Troy and she has no idea whether he survived the sack of the city. Klymene is Penelope's young handmaiden, and when the peace of Ithaka is shattered by the arrival of strangers ambitious for the hand of her mistress, she too becomes caught up in passions inspired by the gods . . . This powerfully imagined novel is not a retelling of Homer's Odyssey - it is the story of the women left behind. 'I'd pretty mcuh defy anyone not to enjoy it' Guardian Unlimited 'An absorbing, sweeping novel that grabs readers from the touching opening page' The Booksellershow more

Rating details

1,163 ratings
3.72 out of 5 stars
5 23% (267)
4 38% (443)
3 29% (339)
2 8% (93)
1 2% (21)
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