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A new take on the Iliad, written by a high school classics teacher how could I not read this The Song of Achilles retells the story of Greece s greatest hero from the point of view of his best friend Patroclus The big twist Madeline Miller casts the story as a romance between Achilles and Patroclus While staying true to Greek legends and the works of Homer, Miller creatively and convincingly fills in the blanks, giving Patroclus a back story that makes perfect sense, and tracing the friendship, and eventual romance, between the two young men in a way that casts a new light on the human side of the Trojan War.I always found Achilles to be an unsympathetic character a brat, a bully, a big headed jerk who knows he s the star player on the team and throws a tantrum if he gets put on the bench Miller shows his unattractive qualities, but she also shows that Achilles is human He s capable of love He s deeply conflicted He has a sense of humor and a gentle side We see him through Patroclus s eyes, growing from a privileged child to a sensitive teen to a young man struggling to balance his personal feelings with the expectations of an entire country If you ve read the Iliad, you know that the story will have a tragic end, but it s also strangely uplifting and hopeful I ll never be able to read about these characters the same way again, and that s a good thing Reading The Song of Achilles put a new light on this ancient story It was like watching a really good interpretation of a Shakespeare play You think you know the story, but you re surprised to find how many layers of new meaning can be brought out by a smart production.The book is certainly appropriate for YA and up The prose is elegant in its simplicity Miller gives Patroclus a Hemmingway like directness I read a New York Times review of this book which I thought patently unfair, complaining that the style made the book seem like a fast food version of the Iliad I think this misses the whole point of the story Patroclus s mission in The Song of Achilles is to cut through the legend of the hero and show us the mortal side of demigod He doesn t want the pompous metaphors and flowery hyperbole of a war epic to bury Achilles s other qualities his tenderness, his insecurity, his honesty and lack of guile The Song of Achilles can serve as an excellent introduction or counterpoint to the study of the Iliad It certainly made the story new and vibrant for me, despite how many times I ve read Homer. Madeline Miller did what the movie producers of the film Troy 2004 were too cowardly to do she stayed true to the homosexuality of Homer sIliad rather than writing a censored version of the story which stank of homophobia Achilles and Patroclus were passionately in love, which resulted in their respective destructions They were not cousins or man at arms, but soul mates The watering down of this in the film Troy was an insult to the LGBT community NothingNothing less The attraction between these two men wasn t something that was rushed and squandered It was built up, ever so slowly, and delivered eloquently The two were friends from boyhood, and Patroclus was enamoured by Achilles after just one glance He didn t want to be parted from him The two grew up together, they fought together, they learnt together and they developed together They became inseparable and reliant on each other Their sexual relationship just matured as they did it it was the most natural thing in the world Like all relationships, there were issues The two weren t without their differences They clashed and quarrelled but only because they truly cared for each other Patroclus wanted to end the war, and Achilles didn t think the fight was worthy of his name he wanted a bigger war to fight in So, Patroclus, in his most bravest and stupid move goes against his lover s wish and tries to end the war with a stroke of his sword But he is no Achilles he is not a god of war He was out of his depth, outmatched and doomed It could only end in tragedyAchilles Laments the Death of Patroclus 1767 I ve not included a spoiler warning because everybody knows the story of Homer sIliad Well, at least, I hope they do Following the traditional narrative arc, Achilles goes on a mad rampage to avenge the death of his beloved In the process he simultaneously destroys and immortalises himself He got what he wanted, but not in the way he wanted it I love the way the author wrote this, I could really feel the desperate rage of an Achilles who had lost the only thing that mattered to him in the world I m so glad the author didn t deviate from the suggestions of homosexuality that were present in Homer s writing This would have failed dramatically had she done so There would have been no power, and, again, like the film Troy it would have been abysmal The romance plot in here is one of the truest and believable I ve read to date it was strong and real However, this is not to downplay the other aspects of the story It is driven by romance, but it is not defined by it There is also a story of growth, and the story of warrior who is out to prove his strength and honour in a world driven by war He just happens to like guys A strong four stars p.s I ve purposely avoided images of the movie Troy in this review Anybody who has seen it and read this book really shouldn t be putting the two side by side, at least, not if they want to make their review fair One is an insult to the story, the other a novelisation of a timeless classic.Facebook Twitter Insta Academia I feel so much And perhaps my emotions are not my own this time Madeline Miller for sure implanted them deep inside of me, without my consent, and now I m urging her to withdraw them, or I will not be able to sleep through the night.It took me a month to read this book, as I needed to take multiple breaks during the experience that is The Song of Achilles I was about to curse the lyricism for welling too many emotions inside my body, too often, and therefore thwarting my reaching the ending in less than a month, but then I discovered that it took the author ten years to write this book, so my unreasonable annoyance subsided, ha ha Dear readers, brace yourself as you open the first page This is unlike anything I ve ever read before It certainly is grander than I expected it to be, and the love story a thousand timespoignant Plus, since I had no prior knowledge of Achilles bloody story, this was all thesurprising to me And now I crave mythology like I crave book mail Patroclus deserves to become a Greek god, although that was never his fate What I mean by that is that he is compassionate, brave, strong, wise and worth hailing every quality I believe a god should possess Achilles, on the other hand, however mortal he may be and so prone to weakness of judgement and power, is harder to connect with But he is impressive and, ultimately, good, that s for sure I am pleased to have read this book, because now I can discuss about the book and the two very discussable characters Achilles and Patroclus that make this story so formidable I cannot wait to hear the thoughts of everyone in my entourage that has read it.Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin we were like gods at the dawning of the world, and our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the otheri must be a masochist because i can think of no other reason to endure the emotional and stunning pain of this story for a third time but here i am crying for my sweet, sweet patroclus the best of men the best of the myrmidons 3its been nearly 12 hours since i finished this and i still am at a loss for words at the beauty of this book i dont think i have ever read anything as gorgeous as this and nothing i write will even come close to describing its loveliness truly, a touching masterpiece and i will forever be singing its praises until the end of my days every star, to give patroclus his own constellation Achilles Who was he if not miraculous, and radiant Who was he if not destined for fameReading this is like reading Romeo and Juliet We all know the story We all know the outcome We all know that our desperate prayers for someone, anyone to step in and save these characters from themselves will fall on deaf ears Gods What a bloody trainwreck Even though I knew how it was going to end, I was not prepared for how much I cared.This is the story of the fall of Troy Or rather, a part of it More specifically, this is the tale of Achilles and Patroclus Of their undying love for each other Of the lives they sacrifice on the altar of that love Of desperate men and petty gods Of a proud, greedy people engaged in a prolonged, bloody war So often in historical fiction from this time period I see the sharp edges of the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures smoothed away I see slaves treated well and women given a voice I m happy to say there was none of that bullshittery here Miller paints the pages of this book in blood and suffering It is awash with pain and brutality As it should be Because historical accuracy But, it means that this book is not for everyone There is a lot of sexism, misogyny, violence, bloodshed, and rape, mentioned almost offhand, because, to these characters, this behavior is commonplace Expected I didn t like a single one of them And not just because of their worldviews There was Achilles and his hubris Patroclus and his uselessness Thetis and her coldness I didn t even like Odysseus and his famous wit, for there was an edge to it in this book that made him seem less charming andmanipulative than I remember That said, as much as I disliked these characters, I loved their stories Miller took gods and legends and brought them to life within the pages of this book She humanized these mythical beings in a way that made them seem real, fallible I justI cannot say enough about this book To me, this is literature at its finest A beautifully written, masterfully crafted story capable of transporting readers within its pages, so enchanting them with what they find within that they forget that the real world lurks without, waiting for their return Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest okay oKAY i get the hype |Download ♡ The Song of Achilles ☨ The Legend BeginsGreece In The Age Of Heroes Patroclus, An Awkward Young Prince, Has Been Exiled To The Kingdom Of Phthia To Be Raised In The Shadow Of King Peleus And His Golden Son, Achilles The Best Of All The Greeks Strong, Beautiful, And The Child Of A Goddess Achilles Is Everything The Shamed Patroclus Is Not Yet Despite Their Differences, The Boys Become Steadfast Companions Their Bond Deepens As They Grow Into Young Men And Become Skilled In The Arts Of War And Medicine Much To The Displeasure And The Fury Of Achilles Mother, Thetis, A Cruel Sea Goddess With A Hatred Of MortalsWhen Word Comes That Helen Of Sparta Has Been Kidnapped, The Men Of Greece, Bound By Blood And Oath, Must Lay Siege To Troy In Her Name Seduced By The Promise Of A Glorious Destiny, Achilles Joins Their Cause, And Torn Between Love And Fear For His Friend, Patroclus Follows Little Do They Know That The Fates Will Test Them Both As Never Before And Demand A Terrible SacrificeBuilt On The Groundwork Of The Iliad, Madeline Miller S Page Turning, Profoundly Moving, And Blisteringly Paced Retelling Of The Epic Trojan War Marks The Launch Of A Dazzling Career He was a marvel, shaft after shaft flying from him, spears that he wrenched easily from broken bodies on the ground to toss at new targets Again and again I saw his wrist twist, exposing its pale underside, those flute like bones thrusting elegantly forward My spear sagged forgotten to the ground as I watched I could not even see the ugliness of the deaths any, the brains, the shattered bones that later I would wash from my skin and hair All I saw was his beauty, his singing limbs, the quick flickering of his feet Madeline Miller studied Latin and Ancient Greek from Brown University and eveninterestingly studied at the Yale School of Drama, specializing in adapting classical tales for a modern audience I ignored this book when it first came out because I had read The Iliad twice and plan to read it manytimes if the Gods grant me enough time to do so A reimagining of Homer s words There is enough debate over translations of the original source documentation without adding in additional controversy over Miller s interpretation of events Or so I thought.After all, aren t these books designed for a modern audience who will never even attempt to read Homer I am not the target audience, as there is very little modern about me I have ancient book dust permanently lodged in my lungs I cough, and the air is redolent with the scent of decaying leather and the intoxicating smell of the slightly hallucinatory book fungi Miller is doing good work, though, bringing Homer to life for a new generation Her books are not for me Or so I thought When her book Galatea came out, I barely even flinched A mild flickering of interest, but I was up to my eyeballs in books to read so I easily dissuaded myself from giving it much thought Deciding to read Galatea would also mean that I would need to read Song of Achilles first because I do believe that books by serious authors build upon one another I wasn t taking Miller seriousyet Part of my resistance came from the fact that I m not a big fan of Achilles He might have been The Greatest Warrior of his Generation, but I didn t find him very heroic Now Hector, poor doomed Hector, to me he was the hero of The Iliad I didn t really want to read a book glorifying Achilles and how effortless it was for him to kill a hundred Trojans in one lazy, bloody afternoon Or so I thought The lovely and talented Madeline Miller.I fully expected Miller to fade back into the woodwork of academia, but then this year she published Circe With one raised Nadalesque eyebrow, I thought to myself, now Circe is someone I don t know nearly enough about The five star reviews started raining down on me like thunderbolts from the fingers of Zeus Cupid shot a quiver full of arrows at me, piercing me in numerous appendages until I looked like Saint Sebastian If I could have gotten my hands on that pink tinted, chubby, precocious toddler, I d have turned him over my knee and paddled him with his own bow Really, I must confess that my new found love for Achilles, Patroclus, Briseis, Chiron, Odysseus, and even Madeline Miller herself could be the result of those love poison tipped arrows Regardless, does it matter the reason why Even in an addled state, there is no way I would ever confuse great writing for poorly conceived writing As I was reading through my notes and savoring favorite passages again, now that Cupid s fog has cleared from my mind, I must say Miller is a wonderful, lyrical writer It all begins with a rape The Greek Gods want to reward Peleus for being such a good subject and decide that he should be given a sea nymph named Thetis as his brideIt was considered their highest honor After all, what mortal would not want to bed a goddess and sire a son from her Divine blood purified our muddy race, bred heroes from dust and clay And this goddess brought a greater promise still the Fates had foretold that her son would far surpass his father Peleus line would be assured But, like all the gods gifts, there was an edge to it the goddess herself was unwilling The Gods whisper in his ear Don t even bother trying to woo her with kelp flowers, Aquaoir Ocean aged wine, or shrimp cocktail The Greek Gods, being rampant assaulters of unsuspecting, pink cheeked, mortal maidens, have no compunction about advocating rape Jump her on the beach, take her, and make her thine The Greek Islands are lousy with half Gods You will meet many of them in the course of this story Achilles is the greatest of them all Greater than Hercules His chosen companion is Patroclus, the disgraced and banished son of a king, an odd choice in many eyes as the closest friend of the greatest warrior Patroclus is, after all, rather unremarkable atwelleverything It doesn t matter, though, because Achilles is good enough at everything for the both of them Thetis is rather annoyed at his choice She doesn t feel that Patroclus is good enough to spend so much time with her son Her favorite greeting for Patroclus is You will be dead soon enough With Patroclus being the narrator of this story, it is rather poor judgement on her part Any quest I ve been on I have always plied the narrator with honeyed wine and the most succulent figs in the hope that I would be rewarded in the prose and poetry of his her telling of the tale Achilles and Patroclus by Barry J.C PurvesHomer skates around the closeness between Achilles and Patroclus, although much can be read between the lines There is also the possibility that some homophobic Christian hundreds of years later made some deft corrections to the original, obscuring any overt reference to a homosexual relationship Homer may have been blind, but his ears must have heard the rustling of the reed mats whether he was an eye witness to the Trojan War or an interpreter of events many years later Madeline Miller wades into the sweaty bedsheet truth of the matter, and yes, the Greatest Warrior to ever live is light in his sandals Miller puts flesh on these ancient bones, Gods and mortals alike, and brings a freshness to one of our most venerated stories Though I resisted, it turns out that Madeline Miller was writing these books for me She has also given me a burning desire to read The Iliad again while her interpretation is still imprinted so deeply in my mind I have a feeling my reading experience will be deepened and her observations will glow like phosphorus between the lines.If you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visithttp www.jeffreykeeten.comI also have a Facebook blogger page at This story s beauty took me completely by surprise I knew nothing about it going in besides the fact that it is based off events in Homer s, The Illiad Despite the fact that I took 4 years of Latin in high school, I couldn t tell you the first thing about The Illiad any .I was completely floored by the absolute beauty of this story The center of the tale is the love between Achilles and Patroclus Admittedly, I am not an avid romance reader Oftentimes, the romance will be my least favorite aspect of a given story, but for some reason, this one struck me straight in the feels There was something so pure and confident in their love They were loyal, brave and kind to one another in a way that had me reaching for the tissues instead of choking down my mirth I just knew from my level of attachment that this one wasn t going to end well for me I was fully anticipating to end up as a puddle on the floor I was overwhelmed by the intensity of feeling this story was able to elicit from my cold, dark heart The Ice Queen hath melteth.If you are considering reading this yourself, for whatever reason, I cannot recommend the audiobook enough This narrator absolutely nailed the feeling of the story His voices for all characters was just so expressive and was always recognizable for who he was portraying at the time In particular, his voice when speaking as Achilles, straight up Chris Hemsworth Honestly, not a bad picture to have in mind whilst listening to a book.To sum it all up READ THIS BOOK The world would indeed be a better place if this book were required reading I honestly believe that. Epic.