Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

What a wonderful, wonderful story. I listened to this as an audiobook with a fabulous narrator who captured the characters and story perfectly. I am not familiar with Greek mythology and not much of a fan of fantasy so, really, I shouldn't even have considered myself a candidate for a book like this. However. After my completely unexpected enthrallment with Annabel Lyon's The Golden Mean about Aristotle's tutoring of Alexander the Great -not exactly mythology, I know, but ancient enough for me to be skeptical- and after reading review after review about how good and real and human this book is, I had to give it a try. It is indeed mythology brought to life. There are gods and goddesses and monsters and nymphs, yes, but somehow they are so seamlessly woven into the fabric of the story I hardly noticed the fantasy aspect of it at all. The mythological deities and creatures only made occasional appearances themselves but had such influence over the mortals' lives the story would not have worked without them.

I also love an underdog. I certainly had a passing familiarity with the story of Achilles and the battle of Troy but did not know much about his lifelong friend and partner Patroclus. The Song of Achilles is Patroclus's telling of Achilles's rise and fall. It is about love and loyalty and, in the face of indifferent and impulsive gods, what it means to be human.

The only unfortunate thing about audibooks is I can't keep track of quotes like I can with print books. The writing, though, is fantastic.

The author's website.


Sam (Tiny Library) said...

Yay, you liked it! I'm so pleased because I've been pushing this book on everyone I know. I'll be gutted if it doesn't win the Orange Prize...

Trish said...

Yes, I'll be crossing my fingers for this one! I'll also be looking for more of her work in the future.