- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1408821982
- ISBN-13: 978-1408821985
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.2 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 35 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Song of Achilles Paperback – 2012
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A captivating retelling of the Iliad and events leading up to it through the point of view of Patroclus: it's a hard book to put down, and any classicist will be enthralled by her characterisation of the goddess Thetis, which carries the true savagery and chill of antiquity -- Donna Tartt * The Times Christmas Books * I loved it * J.K. Rowling * Mary Renault lives again! A ravishingly vivid and convincing version of one of the most legendary of love stories * Emma Donoghue, author of number one bestseller, Room * Original, clever, and in a class of its own ... an incredibly compelling and seductive read * Independent on Sunday * A remarkably fresh take on one of the most familiar narratives in western literature * The Times * Extraordinary ... Beautifully descriptive and heart-achingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find * Daily Mail * Sexy, dangerous, mystical * Bettany Hughes * If I were to give a prize for the best work of fiction I've read this year, this would be the runaway winner. As a first novel, it heralds the arrival of a major new talent * A.N. Wilson, Reader's Digest * Inventive, passionate, uplifting and different. It will appeal to all ages. It's a book which despite some of the stiffest competition in the modern world is a truly worthy winner * Joanna Trollope, chair of the judges for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012 *
About the Author
Madeline Miller has a BA and MA from Brown University in Latin and Ancient Greek, and has taught both for over a decade. She has also studied at the Yale School of Drama, specialising in adapting classical tales to a modern audience. The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller. It has been translated into twenty-three languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek. Madeline was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year, and her essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian and Wall Street Journal. She currently lives in Narberth, MA, where she is working on her second novel.
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Now, let's talk about the book.
The thing is, there is nothing that I can, in good conscience, criticize. At times sweet but always so lovely. This is a wonderful piece of work. It's art. I knew how this was going to end, I believe we all did, but still at the end, I cried. That is an achievement on the author's part, to take something old and familiar and execute it in such a way that the reader still feels the freshness, the shock of it all. I am in awe. This is kind of a half-arsed review but that is only because I just finished this piece of art and my thoughts are a jumbled mess. All I can say is this: I hated Achilles and I hated his hubris and I hated Agamemnon and Patroclus deserved better.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, it was a welcome change as I got to see the gentler side of Achilles and learned a lot more about his inner conflicts, sense of humor and his ability to love deeply.
With Patroclus, I saw someone wonderful and would have loved to know more about him (we do get to see some parts solely dedicated to him but much of it is about what he thinks and feels about Achilles). While we know that the story is tragic, it's strangely fulfilling and uplifting ( My heart did break at one point though! It has some beautiful lines in places).
Now for certain issues I had, While Miller tries to weave a story of two men in love with each other in ancient Greece, I feel she lets some of the comparatively later prejudices seep in. The fluid sexuality of that period is something that has been discussed at length and thus it does not make sense for the characters to feel uncomfortable about it.
I feel there is also a lot of focus on how Achilles is externally (his godlike appearance etc.) and not enough on how they actually feel about each other.
I'd say that I loved the book apart from the issues listed above.
If you too think you know all about Achilles after watching the Brad Pitt starer movie 'Troy' then you, my friend are completely wrong. In fact, it was after reading this book did I realise how erroneous the movie was when it came to capturing historical events. This book, however, does not focus on the Trojan war but rather on the untold story of the most important person in Achilles' life. Patroclus, the narrator of the story, and Achilles are more than 'just comrades' and share a bond of intimacy, love and passion. Based on Homer's 'Iliad' this book gives a fresh point of view to the Trojan war and its hero Achilles' life.
I loved this book for Miller's writing and for the shocking and interesting details about Achilles' life. If you are interested in mythology then do pick The Song of Achilles.
Detailed review on AlphaGirlReviews.com.
What I will say, however, is that it came in perfect condition. No scars on the back, no doggy-eared pages, nothing wrong with the beautiful cover-- NOTHING.
This has become my favourite book (and I've read a lot of books). So my advice is:
BUY IT. NOW.
A tale of one of the greatest love story, with emotions so true that the reader becomes part of whole scene.
A must read for everyone.