The Song of Achilles

Hardcover, 416 pages

English language

Published Nov. 7, 2012 by Ecco Press.

ISBN:
978-0-06-206061-7
Copied ISBN!
OCLC Number:
773303923

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (141 reviews)

Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to 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 cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

28 editions

A tale of emotions

5 stars

Confession: I did not know the tale of Achilles other than some superficial pieces of information before reading this book. I am happy to have taken note of the people gushing about this book. It's been a couple of years since I read it but I still remember what I felt as I came to the end of the book. It was a powerfully sad yet happy feeling. It was overall an enjoyable lovely book and the two main characters are lovable (and dislikable at times). I think Madeline Miller did a wonderful job with the queer theme that should be digestable by everyone (at least everyone who is not homophobic). Writing this review makes me want to read it again and appreciate the story without trying to reach the end.

Review of 'The song of Achilles' on 'Goodreads'

2 stars

I know it's not important in the scheme of things, but this book changes from past tense to present tense and then back again a couple of time MID PARAGRAPH and I am angry with all the editors and readers and judges to allow such an abomination against the gods to go unnoticed.
I liked some some of the writing and the evocation of the world - esp with Chiron - and thought the Thetis characterisation was interesting. Patroclus was someone to care a bit about in the last quarter, when in the first half I would have abandoned the book as Do Not Care At All About These Boring Horrible People if I hadn't known the story gets good... the idealised Briseis relationship pissed me off so now I'm reading Pat Barker's Silence of the Girls to cleanse from that... But Odysseuss is great - perfect, actually, just like …

Review of 'The Song of Achilles' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This probably isn't a book I would've read on my own but my queer/fantasy book club was reading it so I gave it a whirl and found it enjoyable. It was a quick read and, having not been assigned The Illiad for required reading in school (we read The Odyssey), I realized I wasn't actually that familiar with the source material beyond flashback to the atrocious film Troy.

The love story is the root of everything and it's handled very well. I'm particularly fond of the subtleties in how the characters change over time from their youth into young adulthood and how the main character has to reckon with his love for Achilles even as watches him become someone he probably wouldn't be in love with if he wasn't already.

The sticky wicket for me is, as with any historical story that hews to the brutality of the times, especially …

Review of 'The Song of Achilles' on 'Goodreads'

3 stars

It was a strange time. Over us, every second, hung the terror of Achilles' destiny, while the murmurs of war among the gods grew louder. But even I could not fill each minute with fear. I have heard that men who live by a waterfall cease to hear it. In such a way did I learn to live beside the rushing torrent of his doom. The days passed, and he lived. The months passed, and I could go a whole day without looking over the precipice of his death. The miracle of a year, then two.

This is some of the most aloof and distant prose I've read in a while, I don't know how else to describe it. I felt like I was getting the story second- or third-hand, which is kind of impressive in its own way considering it's told entirely in first person narration. Just very detached …

Review of 'La canzone di Achille' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

La storia tra Patroclo e Achille, raccontata dal punto di vista del primo e non dell'eroe greco.
Una storia toccante e delicata, con la guerra e i combattimenti in secondo piano, e in primo piano invece i sentimenti di Achille, il più grande tra i greci, e Patroclo, il più grande di animo.
Libro bellissimo, anzi di più.
"Non sono riuscita a far di lui un dio"
"Ma hai fatto lui"

Review of 'The Song of Achilles' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

THE SONG OF ACHILLES is the story of Achilles’s boyhood and (most of) the Trojan War, as told by his lover, Patroclus. Patroclus’ focus is ever on Achilles, for Achilles is Patroclus’ love and it’s so moving to tell this story through the warm glow of that adoration and desire. 

I like how it handles the very high number of sexual assaults and consent violations which are, in many ways, the backbone of Greek mythology (or at least the family trees). Just giving proper context to this story and to events in Patroclus' and Achilles' lives requires some discussion of these themes, and I think it did as well as it could without feeling very anachronistic. This is a beautiful retelling of a tragic story, it makes me wish that Achilles, Patroclus, and Breisis could have been happy together, but it wasn't meant to be.

This retelling takes the stance …

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Subjects

  • Trojan War
  • Greek mythology
  • Fiction
  • History
  • Trojan War
  • Achilles
  • Patrocles
  • LGBT+
  • Romance
  • Fantasy
  • Mythology

Places

  • Turkey
  • Troy (Extinct city)
  • Greece

Lists