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I didn't expect to care much for this book as I'm not all that interested in Greek myths and heroes--but what an unexpected surprise! I am so glad that I listened to the recommendation of other LTers and decided to give The Song of Achilles a go. Once I started, it was impossible to put it aside--a rare enough occurence, but rarer still when you already know how the story will end. That can only be attirbuted to Madeline Miller's gift for storytelling. Gone are the sometimes stilted characterizations of the original (due in part, no doubt, to weak translations). While the heroes here remain monumental, they are also complex men whose thoughts and emotions are all too human. While Miller never lets us forget that Achilles himself is the son of a goddess, we also see within him the vulnerability of the human condition.
The familiar story is narrated by Patroclus, Achilles's best loved companion. The son of a king sent into exile for making a tragic but shameful mistake, Patroclus befreinds the admired Achilles at the age of twelve. Miller takes us through their upbringing at the court of Peleus and their training with the centaur Chieron and on through the Trojan War, where both eventually meet their final fates. She fleshes out not only the shadowy character of Patroclus but also Thetis, Achilles's goddess-mother, his father Peleus, Chieron, Odysseus, Menalaus, Briseis, and others; and she even manages to make the exhausting battle scenes thrilling.
Perhaps the best compliment I can give to The Song of Achilles is that it has made me want to reread The Iliad.
28 of 28 people found this review helpful
Very good story, very good narrator. Madeline and Frazer had me from the first sentence and didn't let me go. I was mesmerized. Madeline Miller's novel is a thing of quality and Frazer Douglas' voice was pitch perfect. I loved listening to him. I highly recommend this book.
BTW - I hesitate to even dignify this with a response but the reviewer who called this novel "Breathy homo erotica"... couldn't be further from the truth. This novel has no erotica in it whatsoever. It has no explicit sexual scenes. It does have a romance and the romance is very tastefully done.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful