Title: The Song of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Date: September 20th 2011
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller is another version of The Iliad by Homer. This one mainly focuses on the development of Patroclus and Achilles’ relationship. In this novel, the two aren’t best friends nor cousins, but lovers who have known each other since they were young.
Told through first person narrator, in this case Patroclus’, the author masterfully interweaves facts and scenes from The Iliad with the story she wanted to tell. I came to love both the main characters and even though I knew how the novel would end, I was still heart-broken.
Patroclus is not particularly gorgeous, he’s not a fighter and he doesn’t care much about honor. But he would do anything to stay by Achilles’ side. Their longing for each other was inspiring and makes you wish you had their kind of love.
Achilles was a more difficult character to understand. Sometimes he seemed distant, but you could feel the love and desire he had for his lover. Even though honor was one of the most important things for him, he would give away everything for the person who owns his heart.
The story started at a slow pace, but it soon became a swirl of battles, love scenes and travels. The two main characters’ relationship arc felt real and developed at a steady pace. Plus, their past and how the author portrayed Greek culture and society was amazing.
Madeline Miller’s writing style captures you from its first lines and the novel was so poignant I cried at the end. I absolutely recommend The Song of Achilles and give it 5 out of 5 stars.
About the author
Madeline Miller was born in Boston and grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. For the last ten years she has been teaching and tutoring Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students. She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms. She currently lives in Cambridge, MA, where she teaches and writes. The Song of Achilles is her first novel.