The Song of Achilles Paperback – Big Book, 10 April 2019 by Madeline Miller (Author)

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  • The Song of Achilles Paperback – Big Book, 10 April 2019 by Madeline Miller (Author)


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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

      This is a deeply affecting version of the Achilles story: a fully threedimensional man – a son, a father, husband and lover – now exists where a superhero previously stood and fought ― Observer

      Extraordinary … Beautifully descriptive and heart-achingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find ― Daily Mail

      I loved it — J K ROWLING

      A remarkably fresh take on one of the most familiar narratives in western literature ― The Times

      Mary Renault lives again! A ravishingly vivid and convincing version of one of the most legendary of love stories — EMMA DONOGHUE

      Original, clever, and in a class of its own … an incredibly compelling and seductive read ― Independent on Sunday

      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

      Original, passionate, inventive and uplifting — JOANNA TROLLOPE

      An original page-turning homage to The Iliad . Miller’s prose is vividly atmospheric, retelling the siege of Troy in all its heroic devastation ― Marie Claire


      1) 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 2) This is a deeply affecting version of the Achilles story: a fully threedimensional man – a son, a father, husband and lover – now exists where a superhero previously stood and fought – Observer 3) Extraordinary … Beautifully descriptive and heart-achingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find – Daily Mail 4) I loved it – J.K.Rowling 5) A remarkably fresh take on one of the most familiar narratives in western literature- The Times 6) Mary Renault lives again! A ravishingly vivid and convincing version of one of the most legendary of love stories -EMMA DONOGHUE 7) Original, clever, and in a class of its own … an incredibly compelling and seductive read -Independent on Sunday 8)Sexy, dangerous, mystical – BETTANY HUGHES 9) 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 10) Original, passionate, inventive and uplifting – JOANNA TROLLOPE 11) An original page-turning homage to The Iliad … Miller’s prose is vividly atmospheric, retelling the siege of Troy in all its heroic devastation – Marie Claire
      Dimensions 25.4 × 4.7 cm
      Publisher ‏

      ‎ Bloomsbury India; 2022nd edition (10 April 2019); Bloomsbury India

      Language ‏

      ‎ English

      Paperback ‏

      ‎ 368 pages

      ISBN-10 ‏

      ‎ 938900022X

      ISBN-13 ‏

      ‎ 978-9389000221

      Reading age ‏

      ‎ 13 years and up

      Item Weight ‏

      ‎ 370 g

      Dimensions ‏

      ‎ 20.3 x 25.4 x 4.7 cm

      Country of Origin ‏

      ‎ India

      Net Quantity ‏

      ‎ 1.00 count

      Importer ‏

      ‎ New Delhi

      Packer ‏

      ‎ Bloomsbury Publishing India Pvt Ltd New Delhi 110070

      Generic Name ‏

      ‎ Book


      55101500 (Printed publications) Report an incorrect code

      Based on 13 reviews

      4.83 Overall
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      13 reviews for The Song of Achilles Paperback – Big Book, 10 April 2019 by Madeline Miller (Author)

      1. Merin Rajeev

        The book is amazing.Its a great love story friendship war everything what u expect in a book.We can’t keep the hands off this book.Its like every chapter gives us a suspense mystery.And also it is based on a Greek mythology.You can find so many famous greek stories on this one.Mainly this book is about love between two friends.And also the love story is not cliche or cringe .Just good.I haven’t finished reading this book. .Will update .But as far as I read it’s amazing.🤍

      2. Ritupon Baishya

        I love Ancient Greek Stories, after reading The Iliad and The Odysseys, this was the perfect book to read. The tale of Achilles and Patroclus is so wonderfully written, I cannot recommend this book enough.

      3. KS

        I finished this book on my way home from a long day at work. Tired eyes, after a day of sitting in front of the computer, refused to give up. Neither did my heart as I flipped page after page to finish reading this absolutely marvelous book by Madeline Miller. Based on the tragic epic of Troy, this book sings of Achilles and Patroclus, two young boys, one a legend and one merely his lover, caught in the whirlwind and tragedy of their times. You don’t read such books in sultry weather and crowded trains; no, you read them lain on the grass, beneath a sky full of stars, moths and butterflies flickering around even as the bonfire sends sparks up the balmy evening air. Oh well, I wasn’t fortunate enough so I took what I had and breezed through this book, squeezed among fellow passengers.”We were like gods, at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”Oh what it feels like to be in love and to read of such innocent love. They were hardly boys and their were living the best days in the summer of their lives. Achilles, strong but vulnerable, son of a God and born to die a hero. Patroclus, a cast away exile from a royal family, hardly a warrior but filled with sweet, generous love and lost in the winding pathways of life. Their love is like the changing of seasons; bright as summer one moment, cold as winter the other. Their jealousy is real and one can’t but see them in bliss forever.Madeline Miller says it took her 10 years to finish this book and I can imagine so. It is poetic and beautiful, as heartwarming as spring and as visible as the trees that change colors. She sings of a tender love, one that bloomed on the peak of Mount Pelion as two young boys learned the lessons of life under the watchful gaze of the centaur Chiron. Days are spent learning to fish and hunt; nights lazed around under a canopy of stars. Friendship and love was born in lakes that flowed with clear, sparkling water and around nighttime hearths in darkened caves. Two young boys, one a God, the other a mortal, with nothing but life ahead of them.Life though wakes you up just when you think blissful sleep would grace your eyes and take you to a world where innocence fills the air with abundance. And so it is here. Achilles’ vengeful Goddess mother Thetis forever lurks in the background, a dark sea-nymph who abhors her son’s relationship with a mere mortal, a simple nobody, even as she carries around her more than a whiff of bad omen. And the omens come true faster than one can imagine. Helen, the wondrously beautiful wife of Menelaus of Sparta, elopes with Paris, their thirstful lust setting off a war that destroys a generation. Royal messengers ride away to all of Greece as Menelaus and his brother, Agamemnon, assemble an army that, at the time, was one of the greatest on all earth. A thousand ships, as the bards liked to sing, sailed to Troy, one gigantic armada and all for one man’s wife who chose to abandon him to the charms of Paris.Word reaches Achilles and Patroclus too, for Achilles was born on this earth to be the greatest of all heroes. He and he alone could defeat Hector, the best of Troy. But the fates sing a cruel song and in his glory also lies tragedy. Achilles may choose to be a hero and all the Gods and the men knew he would be one but in his choice he would also face certain death for the prophecies never lie. Tied with Hector is his own fate. Tied to his heart is his love for Patroclus. What does his choose? An everlasting love or tragic glory? Patroclus tries of course. Tries to steer the way to love. Oh does he try, poor Patroclus, the simple soul who wanted nothing but Achilles.”The never-ending ache of love and sorrow. Perhaps in some other life I could have refused, could have torn my hair and screamed, and made him face his choice alone.”In the end glory wins over love and Achilles sails for Troy and Patroclus sails with him, their young love a glittering shimmer left behind on Mount Pelion. This is a book that sings of young love but it is also one that speaks of war and philosophy. Wars have been fought over land, over love and over pride. All three may seem flimsy when the consequence is a field littered with dead bodies and rivers turning crimson. And yet war carries beneath it, a deep philosophy and lessons, moral and tangible. The war of Troy would be no different. What for instance would motivate men to leave behind their families and sail on a voyage from which there was almost certainly no return? Why would they fight for another’s wife? This is where war commanders come in. War perhaps teaches more on leadership than anything else and this war is no different.”Success in such a war as this comes only through men sewn to a single purpose, funnelled to a single spear-thrust rather than a thousand needle-pricks.”But this war beckons fame for Achilles and he drinks it, eagerly, a touch greedily. It suits him, to stand tall amongst men, lean and muscular, unbelievable strength in his limbs, as he looses spear after spear and watches them sluice men a mile away. He is a God amongst men, born only to bask in everlasting glory. Where he was vulnerable and simply in love before, now he is a man whose summer of life was cut short. He is not cruel but neither his he hesitant to kill men. Where does this leave Patroclus? Does their love still stand a chance in this miasma of rotting bodies and drying blood?”It was that moment, perhaps, that our lives changed. Not before in Scyros, nor before that still, on Pelion. But here, as we began to understand the grandness, now and always, that would follow him wherever he went. He had chosen to become a legend, and this was the beginning. He hesitated, and I touched my hand to his, where the crowd could not see it. ‘Go,’ I urged him. ‘They are waiting for you.’”But a man on war would always leave behind a void in his companion’s life. And in this void stepped in Breseis. Good, sweet Breseis, a slave of war under the protection of Achilles. The long, tiring years of war brought closer Patroclus and Breseis and as much as I loved the song of Achilles and Patroclus, I wanted to also experience the song of Patroclus and Breseis, It would, I was sure, be as beautiful. But war is tragic, much as the bards like to claim other wise and tragedy encased its cold arms around our heroes. Miller takes her novel on a cliff, all glory and bliss, and then pushes it down. At first, it rolls down gently, merely seeking to swat aside those who stand before it but then assumes a greater momentum, crushing those whose defiance was stronger. From a tale of innocence and sweet vulnerability, it become this haunting song of pain and sorrow. My heart wept for Achilles and Patroclus and Breseis. Three souls lost in the graveyard of life. Warm hearths brought them close together, their story an ode to a soulful companionship. Wild fires of battle tore them apart. I clung on to faint hope, the hopeless romantic that I am. But that hope flickered away like the dying flame of a candle as I flipped the pages.Despite everything I claimed about war, this story made me question its futility. I remember feeling the same when I was reading Bernard Cornwell’s Arthurian saga. War seeks to establish the superiority of one man over another but Chiron was right when he said that nations were the most foolish of mortal inventions; no man is worth more than another, wherever he is from. And this line rang true as I neared the end of this story of brave men fighting and killing and slaughtering. True that Helen eloped and true that Menelaus felt affronted. But they were not the only ones fighting this battle. A lot many did and a lot many died.Madeline Miller has composed a haunting poetry of love and war, of warm summers and frozen winters, of comforting hearths and distressing funeral pyres. Her prose casually dances over the pages, its elegance an ode to an excellent writer. Her world-building was majestic in its simplicity and her depiction of an age of heroes was heart-wrenching. I wouldn’t say I loved this book as much as I did Cornwell’s Arthurian tale but Troy has it’s own place in the stories I love and Miller’s book is a shining gem in that shelf. It is poetic and beautiful, its rhythms like the gentle waves of a beach on a moonlit night. They haunt you long after the water has washed away your footprints.”fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.’ He spread his broad hands. ‘We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?’”

      4. Phillip

        the packaging was great and the book was also great! i will say at first it semmed boring but by the end of it i coulnd stop reading it! all of the pages came in and none of them were torn or missing. the cover of the book was perefct so overall it was good. the package also came in a few hours earlier then expected so 10/10!

      5. Dattatreya kanaparthi

        It was one of the best modren classic literature, must read book , author narrative skills take readers in that era where story is happening many times I feel like I am the Achilles such an impact by this book

      6. Bhuvana bhat

        got it as a birthday gift for my best friend. she loved the novel (i havent read it yet). i received it in mint condition as well. will buy one for myself in the furture!

      7. highjinic

        bought the hard cover copy for a friend and she absolutely loved it

      8. Netritva

        The overall book was goodAt back cover there was some sticky thingOverall nice pages !nice print

      9. Jillian Quinn

        The Song of Achilles: Fate, Fury, and Friendship Make For A Rave ReviewOriginally posted on my blog at, I think it’s important to mention that The Iliad is my favorite book, so my connection to the characters and this story is much deeper than most. I read The Iliad in 2001 and have since been obsessed with all things Greek mythology as well as anything related to the Trojan War. I’ve read The Iliad a total of six times in its entirety, so when I read The Song of Achilles, a work of historical fiction based on the book, I was completely blow away. I can’t remember the last time I stared at the last page of a novel and felt that satisfied.I recently wrote a post about The Iliad if you want to learn more about the original and the modern-day spin I added to it. We read The Song of Achilles as our Book of the Month for Hype or Like Friday, a Goodreads group I co-created with Britt and Larkin, and I’m looking forward to reading the reviews. If you’re a member of the group or have reviewed this book in the past, feel free to share the link to your review in the comments.I often switch up my review style, and I’ve decided to break the novel into 5 categories: Writing, Characters, Plot, Historical Accuracy, and Themes.Note: If you haven’t read The Iliad or are unaware of the history/mythology surrounding the Trojan War, then consider this your warning that there are major spoilers below that explain both The Iliad and The Song of Achilles in great detail.The Writing…Madeline Miller’s prose is so beautiful I was instantly drawn into this novel from the first page. It’s really brilliant, and that’s a word I’ve only used to describe Stephen King’s prose, so that actually means something to me in terms of quality. I’m impressed with very few authors’ writing style, which made this book unputdownable for me.I didn’t realize until after I read the novel that Miller studied and teaches classic literature, and it really shines through. The Song of Achilles is so well written I couldn’t believe this was her first novel. I avoided this one for a while because I was afraid it couldn’t live up to my favorite book. I never thought a re-telling could do Homer justice, but this book knocked it out of the park.The Characters…Choosing Patroclus as the narrator of this story was a BRILLIANT idea! My first thought was how can Patroclus narrate from first person POV when his death is what drives Achilles to kill Hector in a fit of rage, knowing it will lead to his own death? I don’t think this counts as a spoiler considering The Iliad is over three thousand years old and most people know the story of Achilles by now. And that’s not even the most important aspect of this book.I’ve always loved Patroclus and Achilles together. They are The Iliad, at least they are for me. Homer never mentions they’re lovers in his work, but some historians believe the reason Achilles was so distraught over Patroclus’ death was because they were in a relationship. His pain would’ve been real whether they were friends or lovers. Who wouldn’t mourn the loss of their best friend, someone they grew up with? But that’s the spin Miller takes on my favorite classic that really intrigued me.My other favorite character is Briseis, who we later meet during the Trojan War when King Agamemnon holds her captive. The Iliad starts off with Achilles fighting with Agamemnon over Briseis. It plays out almost the same but a bit different in this book. Regardless of the representation, we still get the same gist that the trio spent years living together, which is another part of The Iliad and this book I really liked. “She is in Agamemnon’s custody, but she is Achilles’ prize still. To violate her is a violation of Achilles himself, the gravest insult to his honor. Achilles could kill him for it, and even Menelaus would call it fair.”Achilles is such a tough, strong-willed character that overpowers Patroclus’ more sensitive side, but the two of them work so well together. When Achilles is about to go off the rails, it’s always Patroclus that can rein him in.The Plot…Patroclus was a prince, exiled and sent to live at King Peleus’ court. Achilles’ father wasn’t keen on Patroclus and Achilles’ friendship because he was no longer a prince, but Achilles chose him and that was all that mattered. Everyone listened to what the prince said, and when Achilles speaks in the book, I really felt the power behind his words. His arrogance and air of entitlement can be an issue with some readers, but I see his character from a completely different perspective than most.I like that Miller starts off with Patroclus at age five, drawing you into the world of Achilles, the handsome demi-god with skills that would’ve made every Greek jealous except Patroclus. He admired Achilles, loved him from a distance for years until one day they kissed and the rest is history.When Helen of Sparta, later known as Helen of Troy, is allegedly kidnapped and taken to Troy this prompts Achilles’ need to fight. In The Iliad, Aphrodite promises Paris, Prince of Troy, a beautiful woman, and Helen was considered one of the most beautiful women of that time. This is not shown in the novel, but I thought I’d mention it to give you some context. The entire war and story is set in motion by Helen and Paris’ relationship that angers her husband Menelaus, who convinces his brother King Agamemnon to go to war. “Yet this beautiful spear had been fashioned not in bitterness, but love. Its shape would fit no one’s hand but Achilles’, and its heft could suit no one’s strength but his. And though the point was keen and deadly, the wood itself slipped under our fingers like the slender oiled strut of a lyre.”Slight Confession: I shed a few tears at Patroclus’ death. I cry every time I read The Iliad because it’s so powerful and emotionally draining to read and feel Achilles’ pain over his friend, and in this story, his lover. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I will say that I absolutely loved the conclusion to Patroclus and Achilles’ story.The Historical Accuracy…Everything from Odysseus’ search for Achilles in a foreign court to the divine intervention from the gods was completely accurate. We see Apollo help Paris shoot the arrow that leads to Achilles’ death. He tells him that Achilles might be part god but he’s also man and even gods can be killed. I was afraid this book would take liberties with history. I was thoroughly pleased that did not happen here. While some things were not exactly the same, it was spot on for the most part, which made me smile every time I read another part that lived up to what I’d hoped. I had so many expectations before I opened the book on my Kindle, and I’m thrilled that I can Rave over The Song of Achilles for all the right reasons.The Themes…There are five recurring themes in The Iliad that are also presented in this novel.Achilles knows his destiny is to be the best fighter to ever live, and when his mother Thetis, a sea goddess, tells him he will die if he goes to Troy, he chooses fame and glory over homecoming. He was raised with the assumption he would be the greatest warrior the Greeks had ever seen. While this is true, his pride is a problem that starts to wear on the Greek companies in Troy after Achilles is unable to come to a truce with Agamemnon. The last of her fire was gone; only marble remained. “It is true. But there is more, and worse that he has not said.” The words came tonelessly, as a statue would speak them. “If you go to Troy, you will never return. You will die a young man there.” Achilles’ face went pale. “It is certain?” This is what all mortals ask first, in disbelief, shock, fear. Is there no exception for me? “It is certain.”We see homecoming after the war in the Odyssey with Odysseus, but fate is determined by the Fates themselves, the spinners of life and death. Achilles’ mother pleads with the gods to save her son, but his fate was already set and unavoidable. Odysseus inclines his head. “True. But fame is a strange thing. Some men gain glory after they die, while others fade. What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.” He spread his broad hands. “We cannot say who will survive the holocaust of memory. Who knows?” He smiles. “Perhaps one day even I will be famous. Perhaps more famous than you.”Another important theme is the concept of honor. Achilles goes to Troy because he knows it’s the honorable thing to do. He also fights with Agamemnon over Briseis because he believes that the king is a dishonorable man and by taking his war prize, who later becomes his friend, he’s showing Achilles a lack of respect and therefore has not earned his in return.The Wrath of Achilles is the most notable theme of The Iliad. His anger for Agamemnon is present from the beginning of the book until the bitter end, and his anger over Patroclus’ death only intensifies that fury that he’s waited to unleash. He tears through Trojans like they’re nothing, ripping apart their best fighters until he finally gets the chance to make Hector, Prince of Troy and best of the Trojans, suffer for what he did to his friend. Hector’s eyes are wide, but he will run no longer. He says, “Grant me this. Give my body to my family, when you have killed me.” Achilles makes a sound like choking. “There are no bargains between lions and men. I will kill you and eat you raw.” His spearpoint flies in a dark whirlwind, bright as the evening-star, to catch the hollow at Hector’s throat.The one thing I really liked about The Iliad is that we saw a great deal of Hector. We saw very little of Hector in The Song of Achilles, and I suppose that’s because of the first person narration by Patroclus. There’s so many wonderful quotes I would’ve loved to have read from The Iliad that perfectly capture the words spoken between Hector and Achilles. Hector and Achilles are such a great match for each other because they both want the fame and glory that comes with death, and I really liked Hector in The Iliad. I only wish I would’ve seen more of him in this story.This may either tie or beat Red Rising for the longest review I’ve ever written. I hope this all makes sense and doesn’t come off as a Greek lit fangirl ramble.

      10. SC

        I love love love this book! Would 100% recommendAhhhh! I LOVE this book! I cannot believe it took me this long to start it. It’s been sitting on my kindle shelf for ages just staring at me accusingly. I am so so so glad I finally worked up the nerve to read it because it is AMAZING!!!”The Song of Achilles” is the kind of book that you start reading, and the next thing you know, it’s 3 a.m., and you can’t put it down. Madeline Miller has a unique talent for bringing ancient myths to life with a modern twist, and she does it beautifully in this novel.The story of Achilles and Patroclus is told with such depth and tenderness that you’ll feel like you’re right there with them on their journey. Miller’s prose is poetic, and it effortlessly transports you to the ancient world of Greece, where gods and heroes mingle with mortals. Her characters are so vividly drawn that you’ll find yourself emotionally invested in their fates.But what truly sets this book apart is the portrayal of love – a love that transcends time and societal norms. The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is portrayed with such sensitivity and authenticity that it’s impossible not to be moved by it. Their bond is the heart of the story, and it’s a testament to the power of love in all its forms.”The Song of Achilles” is a book that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. It’s a literary gem that combines history, mythology, and romance in a way that is both captivating and heart-wrenching. If you’re looking for a book that will make you feel, think, and reflect on the enduring power of love, this is it. Don’t miss out on this modern classic.

      11. Michelle L. Beck

        A twist on a classic tale. Lyrical and poetic.When I was in high school (mid 80’s) Greek mythology (Iliad/Odyssey) was required reading. I tortured myself for hours attempting to understand the heavily worded passages filled with war and death. So, when my book club member picked “The Song of Achilles”, I read the summary and feared that it would be difficult to start, never-mind finish. And while I love to read, this didn’t seem like a book I would have selected or enjoyed. Yes, I like movies like “300” and “Gladiator”, and TV shows like “Spartacus”, but was I really ready to voluntarily enter the world of the Trojan war? Guess what? I did and I really, really liked it. The language was not difficult to understand, and the novel was not so heavily worded that I had to reread the passages over and over. The writing was simple (of course I stumbled over some of the names) and filled with new and inventive plot possibilities. But the most interesting thing about this story is how the story is told. We see the rise and fall of Achilles, through the eyes of his companion/lover, Patroclus.Exiled Prince, Patroclus, meets Achilles when he is sent to live with King Peleus. Achilles is the son of Peleus and the Sea Nymph, Thetis. Achilles is confident, handsome, fearless, not to mention destined for great things. Clumsy, awkward and shy, Patroclus is everything that Achilles is not. So, when Achilles picks Patroclus as his companion, everyone is shocked and dismayed. Soon we are allowed to follow their growing relationship from young boys to grown men, and from friends to lovers.Eventually, they are sent to train with Chiron (half horse/half man/Centaur) until Achilles (commanded by his mother) is sent into hiding (as a woman) in another kingdom. There he secretly marries the princess and sires a child. Patroclus finds him and they are dispatched to fight in the war (Paris has taken Helen to Troy and won’t return her). This is Achilles’ opportunity to show and prove his greatness. They toll for 10 years (even overcoming a plague) outside the gates of Troy. And then, following an affront to his reputation (the greedy King Agamemnon attempted to claim one of his possessions, Briseis, who he only saved to appease Patroclus), Achilles refuses to fight until he gets an apology, although this will mean several of his people will die. Without their greatest warrior, they are doomed. Patroclus tries to reason with Achilles but to no avail. So, in an attempt to make things better (amongst the men), restore Achilles reputation and help win the war, Patroclus sets out on a fool’s errand to attack the gates of Troy. Unfortunately, he is killed by Hector (Achilles arch enemy). Grieving (and dealing with a lot of guilt), Achilles sets out to avenge Patroclus’ death. He will stop at nothing until he gets his revenge by killing Hector. And while he achieves his goals, he too is killed (by Paris, with the help of Apollo).What I liked:1. While you may think that Achilles is the hero or what the story is about, it is really about Patroclus, who loved him unconditionally regardless of his flaws. Yes, Achilles was beautiful, musically talented (lyre) and a skilled warrior, but he was also aloof and at times difficult. And while Patroclus saw his shortcomings, he loved him in spite of them. Eventually even giving his life to make sure that Achilles remained whole.2. The dynamic between Achilles, his mother (Thetis) and Patroclus. While Thetis never thought Patroclus was good enough for her son and never understood their love, it is his telling their life stories and their mutual love that in the end softened her outer shell (ok, kind-of). She came to understand that Patroclus loved her son.3. Briseis’ story. Her words of love to Patroclus and her willingness to stay with him forever, even if that meant sharing him with Achilles was simply beautiful. Not to mention, in the end she died on her own terms, refusing to be claimed (by Agamemnon) or enslaved again.4. Achilles’ rage. I could imagine what Achilles was feeling as he circled the gates of Troy dragging Hector’s body behind him. I understood his grief and sympathized when he refused to give Priam his son, Hector’s remains. And I could visualize Achilles leaning over and caring for Patroclus’ remains, hoping that he would awaken or be resurrected.5. Achilles’ death. It was beautifully written. “He turns his head a little, as if to watch it come. He closes his eyes and feels its point push through his skin, parting thick muscle, warming its way past the interlacing fingers of his ribs.” Once he avenged the death of the person he loved, he had nothing really to live for. He did not want to live in a world without his soulmate.I am undecided about:1. The hasty conclusion. I would have liked to really see more of Pyrrhus’ reign. I did find it ironic that unlike Achilles (who was reared by his mortal father and Chiron), his son, Pyrrhus was allowed to grow and develop under Thetis. She believed that Achilles humanness made him vulnerable, so I was curious to see did this opportunity to raise another version of Achilles make a difference. Pyrrhus, while a great warrior and strategist, was cold, entitled, selfish and mean. The opposite of Achilles, who while aloof, was able to love, and yet they both had the same fate. Neither was fated to live forever. Ironically, Achilles’ son died for the same affront (claiming or taking a woman) that caused Achilles to stop fighting.In conclusion, I only touched on a few things from the book in this review. But be assured, there is a lot that made this a fascinating read. There was romance, treachery, war, passion (because there is a difference between romance and passion), tragedy and good old Greek mythology. What else do you need? 4.5 stars

      12. clarylovesbooks

        Una magnifica rivisitazione dell’IliadeTRAMA”Grecia, al tempo degli eroi. Patroclo, giovane e gracile principe, vive in esilio nel regno di Ftia, all’ombra del re Peleo e del suo figlio prediletto, il glorioso Achille. Achille “il migliore tra i greci” è così diverso da lui: forte, bellissimo, figlio di una dea. Eppure un giorno Achille prende il ragazzo maldestro sotto la propria ala e presto il loro incontro, mentre si allenano a diventare uomini esperti nell’arte della guerra, si trasforma in una salda amicizia, e perfino in qualcosa di più. Ma, come ben sappiamo, il destino è in agguato e presto i due giovani si troveranno a combattere sotto le mura di Troia.”L’autrice Madeline Miller, è vincitrice dell’Orange Prize con questo suo romanzo d’esordio.RECENSIONEInizio con il dire che è uno dei romanzi più belli che abbia letto, una storia che non mi dimenticherò facilmente. Apprezzatissimo anche da autori del calibro di J. K. Rowling e Donna Tartt, questo libro si è rivelato una piccola gemma, e non solo per la bellissima storia d’amore e d’amicizia che racconta. Questo romanzo è una perla sia dal punto di vista stilistico che per quanto riguarda l’accuratezza di ciò che viene raccontato. Avrei tanto voluto che fosse esistito quando ero al secondo liceo e stavo studiando i testi di Omero. Ai tempi studiavo l’Iliade e poi dimenticavo tutto, ricordando grosso modo solo i fatti più importanti e i personaggi maggiori. “La canzone di Achille” è una fantastica rivisitazione dell’Iliade: i personaggi, gli eventi narrati, la cronologia, ogni cosa è impeccabile e spiegata alla perfezione. Si vede che dietro quest’opera c’è un grandissimo lavoro di studio e di approfondimento dei testi classici.L’autrice ha una laurea triennale e un Master in greco antico e latino alla Brown University, e insegna entrambe da più di dieci anni. Inoltre ha anche studiato presso la Yale School of Drama, specializzandosi nell’adattare racconti classici per un pubblico moderno. La stesura di “La canzone di Achille”, che tra l’altro è il suo romanzo di esordio, ha occupato più di dieci anni. Insomma, di certo è un’autrice che sa il fatto suo e sa maneggiare benissimo i testi classici. L’autrice dichiara di aver usato come fonti Omero, Ovidio, Platone, Eschilo, Sofocle, Apollonio Rodio e Virgilio. Un’autrice che ha letto e studiato approfonditamente l’Iliade e che, come molti di noi, è convinta che tra Achille e Patroclo ci sia stata più di una grande amicizia. Parla di un’amore totale, assoluto ed eterno, e lo fa con estrema dolcezza e delicatezza, senza tabù.Uno stile e un modo di narrare coinvolgente, fin dalla prima pagina. Tutta la vicenda è narrata dal punto di vista di Patroclo, e ho amato il suo personaggio. Un uomo pieno di valori, leale, buono e gentile. Non ha la forza fisica di Achille, ma ciò non lo rende inferiore a lui. Le loro scene intime sono bellissime e di una delicatezza infinita. Il mio cuore batteva fortissimo mentre leggevo le pagine di questo libro, tanto ero immersa nella loro storia d’amore. Il romanzo inizia quando loro erano piccolissimi, e attraversa tutte le tappe più importanti della loro vita e della loro amicizia. Sono due adolescenti che si trovano in una guerra che non hanno voluto e a cui non volevano partecipare, e impareranno insieme a diventare uomini. Patroclo vive per Achille, e così viceversa. La guerra di Troia metterà a dura prova il loro rapporto, sopratutto quando Achille si farà trascinare troppo dalla gloria e dalla fama.“I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.” ― Madeline Miller, The Song of AchillesUna grande storia d’amore che riesce anche a superare il destino tragico che li aspetta. Una conclusione commovente, dolcissima e bellissima. Un romanzo bellissimo, sotto ogni punto di vista. Leggetelo, e sono certa che nessuno di voi ne resterà deluso.L’autrice ha anche recentemente pubblicato il suo secondo romanzo, intitolato “Circe”, una rivisitazione dell’Odissea con protagonista la famosa maga Circe. Ho intenzione di leggerlo questa estate e ho sentito solo cose splendide a riguardo. Farò sicuramente una recensione dopo averlo letto!Vi lascio con queste parole di Rick Riordan riguardo a “La canzone di Achille”, che racchiudono perfettamente il mio pensiero nei confronti di quest’opera:“ […] Rimanendo fedele alle leggende greche e ai lavori di Omero, la Miller in maniera creativa e convincente riempie gli spazi vuoti, dando a Patroclo una back story che ha perfettamente senso, tracciando l’amicizia, l’eventuale storia d’amore tra due giovani uomini in un modo che lancia una nuova luce al lato umano della Guerra di Troia.Ho sempre trovato Achille un personaggio antipatico – un presuntuoso, bullo, idiota che sa di essere il numero uno e impazzisce se viene messo in panchina. Miller mostra queste sue qualità che lo rendono un personaggio poco attraente, ma mostra anche il suo lato umano. È capace di amare. È profondamente turbato. Ha un senso dell’umorismo e un lato molto gentile e dolce. Lo vediamo attraverso gli occhi di Patroclo, evolvendosi da un bambino privilegiato ad un’adolescente sensibile fino ad arrivare ad un giovane uomo che si trova in difficoltà nel riuscire a bilanciare i suoi sentimenti personali con le aspettative dell’intero Paese. Se avete letto l’Iliade, saprete che la storia si conclude in maniera tragica, ma questa storia ha anche un finale edificante e speranzoso. Non riuscirò mai più a leggere di questi personaggi nello stesso modo, e questa è una buona cosa. Questo libro riesce a dare una nuova luce a questa storia antica. È come guardare una magnifica interpretazione di un opera teatrale di Shakespeare. Pensi di conoscere la storia, ma poi vieni sorpreso da quanti strati di nuovi significati riesce a portare una buona e intelligente produzione. […] La canzone di Achille” può servire come un’introduzione eccellente e contrappunto allo studio dell’Iliade. Per me ha certamente reso questa storia nuova e vibrante, nonostante la moltitudine di volte in cui ho letto Omero.””

      13. Victoria

        Absolutely incredibleThis was probably THE best book i have ever read in my life. It is so beautifully written, fast paced, i just couldn’t put it down- i read it in two sessions. The way Madeline Miller captivated me with her writing is insane. She writes so simply but yet so touching and the way she paints pictures with her words and is able to put the characters’ feelings into words so eloquently, seemingly effortlessly but witj such incredible intensity, is something i’ll never get over. (I never write book reviews and I just had to for this one, so it may not be very cohesive or structured but I just had to get off my chest how much i loved this book haha).It touched me at my core and had me sobbing by the end.I read Circe before this and thought THAT was something, but this! This was even better.

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