Lois A. Cuddy has a Ph.D. in English from Brown University and is Professor Emerita of English, Women’s Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Rhode Island. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, she is the recipient of a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and the Teaching Excellence Award at her university. She published T. S. Eliot and the Poetics of Evolution, co-authored two other scholarly books, and wrote articles on both classical and modern authors. Long fascinated by the Homeric tradition (including variations and subversions of the classics), she felt it was time to turn to fiction in order to tell the story of Penelope and her world. She now resides in Richmond, RI, with Greg and their Maine Coon cats, Darwin and Wallace.
Penelope’s Song reimagines Homer’s Odyssey in which Penelope, the hero’s wife, is almost silent and invisible. Now, after over 2600 years of ignoring her story, we learn about this strong, courageous, creative, and unforgettable woman from her own point of view and in her own voice. Struggling to survive the cruelty and emptiness of a marriage to an absent hero, Penelope teaches us about kindness and beauty, about dreams and nightmares, about loneliness and fear. In a culture mired in misogyny, she writes the narratives of her enslaved weavers, of her son who almost destroys the House of Odysseus, and of her ownlife and forbidden love for Cadmus, the Phoenician merchant who taught her to read and write and whose devotion gives her reason to live and hope. In this historical and revisionist novel, Penelope reveals women’s lives in an ancient world renowned for its epic characters and thereby redefines the image of hero in her time.
Praise for Penelope’s Song
“In Penelope’s Song Lois Cuddy takes readers on a journey to another place and time –specifically to islands in the Mediterranean more than three thousand years ago. Even so she manages to depict how much life is the same in terms of human longing and loving as well as in the horrendous violence that men inflict on one another and on women. This inspiring story shows how the wife of the legendary “hero” Odysseus manages not only to survive hideous cruelty, but to create beauty and happiness and to relieve suffering for many by accepting her situation and focusing on doing good rather than avenging her capture or succumbing to hatred. Penelope has a secret which helps her to get through the most difficult times, and that is the ability to write, which gives her comfort and hope. The voice and beauty of this amazing character will haunt readers.” — Rebecca Leo, The Flaws That Bind
“Lois Cuddy’s exquisite writing style—poetic, detailed, authentic—is possessed of Penelope’s spirit. The author has immersed herself in this world, and her ambitious research and extraordinary reimagining of this woman’s life transforms the novel into captivating “memoir.” By taking on the life of an important but voiceless woman from antiquity, Cuddy’s novel joins the ranks of others who have conquered the age-old struggle of feminism – by breaking the silence, she allows Penelope to shine in her own right. Penelope is no longer an appendage to a hero’s tale; she has her own story, and she is the powerful heroine. This is an exciting, moving, unique novel.” — Vicki Addesso, co-author, Still Here Thinking About You
To purchase a copy of Penelope’s Song, please find it on Amazon.