Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

‘I was warm, and the ground beneath me was soft with moss and fallen leaves. I could not believe that only this morning I had woken in Peleus’ palace. This small clearing, the gleaming walls of the cave within, were more vivid than the pale white palace had ever been.’

Madeline Miller writes a beautiful modern translation of the events leading up to the Trojan war, and then the war itself. Narrated by Patroclus, (Achilles’ close friend, and in some texts, this one included, lover) the life of Achilles, Patroclus and those close to them, is shown in a new and particularly accessible light.

I have always adored reading about Greek Mythology, and loved reading the Iliad, the Odyssey and Metamorphoses back in my university days, so ‘The Song of Achilles’ went straight to the top of my list of books to read. Miller did not disappoint. She writes a beautiful and engrossing translation (taken mostly from early texts) of Achilles’ life, and paints some fantastic imagery with her descriptions. I was not at all surprised to learn that this novel took her nearly 10 years to write; it is an absolute masterpiece, and I too would have voted it the winner for the Orange Fiction Prize 2012.

‘Her mouth was a gash of red, like the torn-open stomach of a sacrifice, bloody and oracular. Behind it her teeth shone sharp and white as bone.’

The pace is steady yet gripping, and I suspect this will soon be added to school reading lists – both educational and a fantastic read. I very much look forward to reading her next novel, and hope that there is much more to come from her as an author.

Contains a couple of sexual scenes, so I’d say age 14+

Love From,

Original Book Girl


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