Madeline Miller’s ‘The Song Of Achilles’

Review  – The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller

the song of achillesAchilles, “best of all the Greeks,” is everything Patroclus is not—strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess—and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative friendship gives way to a lifelong bond.

First, a keyboard smash to express my feelings about this book…

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Right, done.

The Song Of Achilles tells the story of Patroclus and Achilles, two young men who would never have met if it weren’t for Patroclus’ exile at a young age. Together they learn to navigate life, and between them, an unfathomable bond is created.

Even though it’s likely that the ending is already known, nothing is spoiled in any way. In fact, despite the knowledge of what was to unfold, I found myself hoping with every in me that it wouldn’t be. I became so attached to Patroclus and Achilles that it hurt me to read the last few chapters. My heart hurt. Miller has a devilishly brilliant way of making you love something wholly, and then tearing it all away. I was teary and breathless by the end and I’m sure the exact same thing would happen on a re-read.

“I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me. If I had had words to speak such a thing, I would have. But there were none that seemed big enough for it, to hold that swelling truth.”

The storyline is not too fast paced that confusion arises, but neither slow enough to create boredom. It’s so damn bittersweet and fleeting, but at the same time, it’s all wonderfully done. Based on Homer’s Iliad, Madeline’s debut novel (which was ten years in the making) won the Orange Prize For Fiction and it’s extremely easy to understand why. Her writing is smooth, flowing and conjures such intricate imagery. The relationship between Patroclus and Achilles is expressed poetically and without flaw. There’s not any fault to be found anywhere.

There are so many things that I wish to say about this book, but no amount of words will do it any form of justice. It’s truly unique, the likes of which I do not think I will ever come across. It’s educational, beautifully detailed, flawlessly written and exceptionally well done. I will love this book forever, I think. It’s just completely fantastic.

Rating: ★★★★★

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