Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on September 20, 2011
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Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper - despite the displeasure of Achilles' mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
The only word I know to describe this book is: art. Like with Circe, I was awestruck by The Song of Achilles. I am a real sucker for the Greek epics, and I feel strongly that if Homer had written like Madeline Miller, a lot more people would be, too. She has a gift for making the gods as real, as complex, and as flawed as we mortals, and it is giving me LIFE. This reimagining of Patroclus and Achilles is nothing short of brilliant. For a tale as old as The Iliad, this is the first version that made me feel. I felt love and hope and sorrow – for a story I knew the ending of all along.
I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth. I would know him in death, at the end of the world.
I would like to think that someday I’ll write a proper review, worthy of this book. More realistically, I think I will hold it in my heart. I will remember the drives I took while listening to it, the beauty I saw around me and felt from the book itself. I’ll regard it, as I have beautiful paintings in a gallery (back when that was a thing I could do freely), feeling that small link that exists across all of humanity to something wonderful, something created by a master to capture a glimpse of what it is to be human. I think I’ll simply choose to remember it fondly for a good long while.