The legend begins...
Greece 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 mortals.
When 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 sacrifice.
Built 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.
©2012 Madeline Miller (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers
“[Miller] makes a persuasive argument for the timeliness of her subject. …Miller’s winning debut focuses on Patroclus, a young prince living in Achilles’ golden shadow. Miller also gives voice to many of the women who were also consigned to the shadows.” (Publishers Weekly, Spring 2012 Preview, Top 10 Literary Fiction)
“You don’t need to be familiar with Homer’s The Iliad (or Brad Pitt’s Troy, for that matter) to find Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles spellbinding....her explorations of ego, grief, and love’s many permutations are both familiar and new....[A] timeless love story.” (O magazine)
“A psychologically astute Iliad prelude featuring the heady, star-crossed adolescence of future heroes Patroclus and Achilles.” (Vogue)
I live in Scottsdale, Arizona. I have 5 grown children, play ukuele exercise, and read.
I really enjoyed this book. The writing was beautiful, and I enjoyed the "different" take on the story. Toward the end I almost wished I didn't know what the inevitable outcome of the story would be.I do recommend this book.
Excellent adaptation!!!! The story flows so much easier and lets the listener really identify with the trials and the joys of the characters! Passes over the dry retoric to get at the story beneath!
Wonderfully narrated, beautifully written-- this is by far my favorite love story. It is both romantic and action packed, showing loyalty, love and compassion Achilles and Patroeclus grow together not only in age but as people.
I was familiar with Greek myths- have been fascinated with them since my fifth grade teacher had lived in Greece and fueled my interest and imagination. The author does a magical job of bringing these ancient characters to life and making them human (even if they are gods or half-god).
Any Greek tragedy, this book has all the same elements-nosey gods interfering in human lives, conflict, hubris, a tragic hero....
So many! I especially liked the scenes describing characters within the myths; Achilles and. Patroclus (of course), Odysseus, Agamemnon, King Menelaus, Achilles' mother-I really enjoyed her characterizations and the narrator's interpretation of their voices. The voice of Achilles' mother was deliciously villainous and hard to forget.
Patroclus because he wasn't as weak as people thought he was and Achilles because he becomes more that a one dimensional hero.
I have seen a few comments that describe this book as "homo porn" and "explicit". I would like to respectfully disagree. This book is set in a different culture and time-the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles has been discussed for HUNDREDS of years. This author isn't presenting some new fangled twist or a new interpretation of the story. If that makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps this story isn't for you. Any explicit sex scenes- hetero or homo- make me uncomfortable. I'd like to add that I am a middle aged, married, goes-to-church- three-times-a-week Christian. I am also someone who enjoys well written literature. The two main characters are in a committed relationship and the intimate scenes are more like the old movies where the camera pans up to an open window and the wind gently blows the curtains- things implied but not expressed. The plot is not based on these scenes nor are they gratuitous. They are important because they show the depth of their love and respect and this is really relevant towards the second half of the book and explains their actions and choices. I put off buying this book for some time because of these comments and am so thankful that I overcame my doubts and purchased this book. If you enjoy a beautifully written story (and a well narrated one as well) I encourage you to give this one a try. I'm glad I did.
I didn't think anyone could come close to Mary Renault in making the ancient world real to me, but Madeline Miller does it. Beautifully written, with each obstacle in retelling the tale of the Trojan War leapt over with seeming ease, she gives us a personal tale of huge mythic and historic event. Wonderful characters, wonderfully voiced by Frazer Douglas. Best book I've heard or read in years.
Small spoiler and warning: if a relationship between two men is something that will bother you, then don't listen to this book. The relationship is essential to the story and one of the reasons the book packs the kind of emotional wallop that it does. Even though the relationship between Patrokles and Achilles has been told and retold over the ages, that not help you get over your discomfort. You'll be missing out, but you should know that it's there.
I really only get to listen to books these days. I have a fairly long commute to work so books have become my favorite road companion. In this case, on listening to Song of Achilles a second time, I went on line to order a hard-cover print edition. I felt compelled to actively read the words - just beautiful writing.
It's hard to say what I loved the most - I suppose the language... Ms. Miller's writing is beautiful and seamless and poetic. Frazer Douglas reads the text with sensitivity and character and heart. I could listen to him read anything.
I don't cry at books, but listening to the scene where Patroclus goes off to battle in the guise of Achilles, I found myself in tears on each hearing. Again - at the end of the book, I had to wipe tears from my eyes.
I wouldn't - the title is perfect... It fits in beautifully with Patroclus' final 'this and this and this' speech.
If I had only one book to listen to for the rest of my life - Song of Achilles would be it. I love it.
Say something about yourself!
This book has been in and out of my wish list several times – and I still don’t know what drew me to it. Possibly that I know very little about the Iliad, the story is rated rather high, some of the listeners I follow really enjoyed it, and I was looking for something different. I am aware of the stories of Achilles; I had no idea Patroculus existed in the book.
I became very absorbed by this version of Achilles and that – after looking it up – it was suggested that they had an amorous relationship than was not taught in school AND it was alluded to. Anyway, it made it interesting.
I listened from beginning to end and really enjoyed it. The end was excellent. Achilles' son was just what Achilles' mother wanted Achilles to be and was not – and was horrible. What a lesson for her!! The YEARS they spent in the war with Troy was ridiculous. Achilles hiding as a woman to avoid the war was some comic relief – somewhat.
The narrator was great. If I were to read this I would have gotten over half of the names incorrect and still struggle with Patroculus.
It was just interesting, engaging, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you are looking for something different I recommend it. If you like Greek mythology, you will find this a different take on it - as other reviewers stated.
Early in the book, when I realized that it was a gay romance, I almost quit. I'm glad I didn't.
The romantic scenes were mildly described and the rest of the story was gripping and vividly written. The culture and people of mythic Greece come alive in a convincing way. Knowing that the outcome cannot be anything but tragic, I dreaded moving toward the end, but the author stays true to the tradition. She also thankfully leaves out later mythic traditions not found in Homer.
The story is well read, at a good pace.
I love historical novels, I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this, and I never read anything by Madeline Miller before. I purchased on sale, and I was blown away at how great this story was.The knowledge of the history and persons at that time were obvious. Ms Miller did her homework, and made it a very entertaining and moving story.
When Patroclus and Achilles are in the mountains with the centaur Chiron. They really grew from boys to men. It was a very happy time for them.
I had never heard Frazer Douglas narrate anything prior to this. He was fantastic with each character. Even the voices of the younge Patroclus and Achilles. The women the gods and goddesses. you always knew who was speaking.
There were many moments, and anyone who knows the story of the Trojan war, also knows that Patroclus went out to get the Greeks hyped to fight again with Achilles on their side. When he is killed Frazer Douglas does such a great job of expressing emotion of each character., you have to be croaked up
I would love to get another book by Ms Miller, and I'll certainly look for narrations by Frazer Douglas.
A genuinely beautiful novel, reasonably well-read. The familiarity of the story never diminishes the suspense; the writing is evocative of time and place. Characters are well-developed and believable throughout. The performance by Frazer Douglas is always more than acceptable, but never quite memorable. As others have pointed out--both in reviews of the book and the audio--the last paragraph is unfortunate and diminishes the effectiveness of the narrative. Overall however an excellent audiobook and highly recommended.
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