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)
Before buying this title I listened to the first few minutes and was caught like a fish on a hook. It was fast paced and fascinating—historical fiction that promised to take me back to the birth of civilization. Turns out, that was just the back story. The rest of the book, or at least the rest that I could stand to listen to, was an insipid boy's account of his romantic homosexual desires for an impossibly perfect cliche of a character, who may or may not be a god. Yes the gods, not to mention centaurs, are real in this book. The plotting is tedious, merely an excuse to separate the lovers briefly, then conveniently unite them again. And when they are united BTW, the author jumps to the dawn every time. She hasn't the nerve or imagination to give account to the sex. But she's very good at describing pounding hearts and sweaty chests. The narration is not helped by the readers' attempts to portray feminine voices.
Personally I have nothing against homo erotics or homo sexuality - but honestly I don't really have an interest in it either. The title and the description indicates a story about the greek hero Achilles - but the reality of the book is very much different and not something I would have bought if I had known.
Not from stories about classic heroes - but I'm still not interested in homo erotiscism...
It was cheap - but unfortunately cannot be returned for a refund. 10 USD of experience... :-/
Have noticed that most of the positive reviews are from women. If you aren't one, you might want to check reviews made by other blokes before putting down money for this book, which is something completely different from what it looks like.
The narrator's tone is very monotonous. Even at 1.5x speed, his delivery is slow and too measured.
I just finished a book narrated by Bryan Cranston and he was fabulous. His delivery was paced based on the action in the scene and his tone was varied based on the character.
I purchased this book for a long business trip expecting a chronicle of two boy's/men exploits in ancient greece. The plot (about halfway through) seems to be focused more on the potential love affair between the main character and Achilles than daily life in ancient greece. I'll likely continue to listen, however, this book is not at all what I expected, is not consistent with the description and the plot seems to be moving very slowly.
I really liked the story : it kept me going
When they met the menator
There are so many parts it is hard to find just one
I couldnt stop listening : in car , at home , on patio I was really involved ; i wanted to hear more
This book and narrator conveys such longing. The love between the main characters is so pure and strong, I really enjoyed this story.
No. The homosexual lust became more of a distraction than an enhancement. This book read more like a gay Harlequin bodice-ripper than an historical fiction. Although there have been centuries of speculation whether Achilles and Patroclus were lovers or just comrades in arms, Miller removed all doubt -- in more detail than I prefer. The first incident I dismissed as youthful androgynous fascination of the plain for the beautiful, regardless of sex. The second was more specific, and other occasions were even more graphic. An analysis of the fascination with feet would power a master's thesis for a literature major, or a psychologist. Although I commend Miller's ability to write about sexual encounters without devolving into crass profanity, I still would have preferred this story -- which is otherwise very well written -- to avoid the thrusting, sticky, strokes that occupied so much of the text.
He was able to vary the voices of the characters in ways that helped paint their personalities very realistically.
No. I would have preferred to read this book as text, so I could skip over the tedious grope and moan sections and get to the real story.
Beautiful language and a familiar story but I never really cared for the characters. Frazier Douglas did an admirable job and despite knowing the classic tale I couldn't for the life of me understand why thoughtful Greeks would want to spend 10 years trying to capture Troy. At the end I wish that Hector had overcome Achilles and his meddling Goddess mother!
This is really a love story with the background of war and mythology. The heart of the novel is the romance between Patroclus and Achilles, which is at first confusing to them, then sweet and full of joy, and then adult and full of sacrifice and acceptance.
I enjoyed the character development and the vivid description of the sights, smells and sounds of the time. There were parts of the novel that dragged a little, but it soon picked up. In general, it was an entertaining story, and for anyone who has read The Iliad or seen the movie Troy, it was a new way to look at the character Achilles, the origin of his personality and his motivation, and an honest look at a relationship between two men.
I'd been waiting for years for a telling of the Achilles/Patroclus story the way I had imagined it - and Miller has delivered! And it is a sexy, sexy book. Miller is supposed to have been working on this book for ten years - and it shows. Not only did she rely on Homer's Iliad, but she used books from the entire extant Trojan cycle (Cypria, Little Iliad, et al.).
To preface, I think that Douglas did a great job. His voice is nice to listen to. However, this is Miller's first book, and it shows in the tone of the first few pages. It's not distracting, but Frazier Douglas' wistful performance didn't help. Also, I was definitely not a fan of the baritone voice he gave to Achilles, especially prepubescent Achilles. I get that it's mostly a class thing, but it didn't do much for me.
Briseis, whom I hated (HATED) in the movie Troy by the way, was very much a strong character here.
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