Thursday, October 11, 2012

Song of Achilles

Some people make me shake my head in wonderment. Madeline Miller, recent winner of the prestigious Orange Prize, is one of them. She holds a BA and MA in Classics, works at the Yale School of Drama tinkering with adaptation of classical text to modern forms, and tutors high school students in Latin and Greek. If that isn't enough, she has penned a terrific first novel, The Song of Achilles. Cue fawning praise: Ever since D'aulaire's Greek Myths and Legends captivated my childhood imagination I have loved the dip and cadence of the myths. The Song of Achilles is the romp that leads up The Trojan War, zeroing in on Achilles as a youth and his deep love affair with exiled prince Patroclus. She hits the mark with the  cleverness of Odysseus, the heat and glare of the islands, the otherness of the gods, the booming egos of the epic time. But what got me was the lilting romance, the complicated weddedness between the couple. Achilles, between a rock and a hard place: it is said that if he fails to fight in the upcoming war his manhood and celestial brilliance will shrivel and atrophy. On the other hand, if he does fight he will be canonized, but death is certain.... Patroclus under the conflicting council of Chiron and Thetis attempts to honor the importance of Achilles and the fates, but Achilles, the person, refuses to allow him to subvert their worldly love.

It's a beautiful book, a beautiful love affair, a tragic end that reaches over time.

Here is the book’s byline:

A dazzling feat of the imagination,
A devastating love story,
And an almighty battle between
Gods and kings, peace and glory,
Immortal fame and the human heart.

End of gush....!!!

- Hannah

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