The Song Of Achilles
The Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller won the Orange Prize 2012 about a week or so ago and rarely has a book been so worthy of the accolades it has received.
The story of Patroclus an exiled Prince, who is befriended by Achilles, Prince Of Phthia, the novel charts their lives together from childhood to adolescence to the Trojan war.
For me this book was flawless, just flawless, it got me from the first page onwards and I sat smiling at it as I read it, so pleased was I with the knock out quality of the prose. Tender, beautiful, dramatic, atmospheric, touching, heartbreaking. This book is all these things.
Moreover the characters leap off the page. Known from The Iliad, they become rounded humans in Miller's reworking and are beautifully realised. Particularly, I could feel Thetis before me, smelling of salt and choking the earth beneath her feet, with the threat of power all around her.
The relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, thoroughly believable is the obvious star of the show, but the relationship between Briseis and Patroclus is both touching and sad.
I was blown away by this book and I think everyone who reads it should be. A Herculean piece of work in order to portray the Trojan war and an obvious labour of love, I can only thank Madeline Miller for providing me and other readers with it.
Though it has the obvious attraction for anyone into Ancient Greece and Greek Myths it utterly transcends that. If you love reading, if you love books you need this book in your life, you will not be sorry you spent your money. An outstanding achievement 10/10