The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller

Terrific book! Loved it. Lyrical. Captivating. Love story. Sad parts. Retelling of Classical stories before and during the Trojan War. Timely in that it describes a great love between two Greek princes, not unusual for the time period, but now on contemporary minds with the legalization of gay marriage.

Patroclus is born small, weak, and a disappointment to his father, a king. Achilles is the golden boy, son of the nymph Thetis and another king. Patroclus is sent to be fostered at Peleus’ court where Achilles trains separately to become the greatest of Greek warriors.

“The next summer we turned thirteen, him first, and then me. Our bodies began to stretch, pulling at our joints until they were aching and weak. In Peleaus’ shining bronze mirror, I almost did not recognize myself — lanky and gaunt, stork legs and sharpening chin. Achilles was taller still, seeming to tower above me. Eventually we would be of a height, but he came to his maturity sooner, with a startling speed, primed perhaps by the divinity in his blood.” (p. 58).

They are trained as young men by the centaur Chiron, high on the side of a mountain in a crystal cave. Later, they join the war to retrieve Helen from Paris and the Trojans.

“I ran, armor banging. My breath came thickly, and the ground shook with the pounding of feet, a rumbling roar growing louder. The dust kicked up by the charge was almost blinding. I could not see Achilles. I could not see the man beside me. I could do nothing but grip my shield and run.” (p. 237).

Winner of the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction.

If you like Game of Thrones or reading Greek mythology, you will enjoy this book.


About KLevenson

I am Teacher Librarian at Piedmont High School in the San Francisco East Bay. I am a part time reference Librarian I for the San Francisco Public Library. I have a Masters in Library and Information Sciences from San Jose State and a Teacher Librarian credential in addition to my teaching credential in Science. My first MA was from Harvard in Archaeology. My students teach me something new every time I am with them!
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