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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Madeline Miller (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,9702232,848 (4.11)3 / 776
Title:The Song of Achilles
Authors:Madeline Miller (Author)
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing (2011), Edition: 1, 389 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

Work details

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

  1. 120
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 80
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  3. 60
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  4. 50
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  5. 30
    The Persian Boy by Mary Renault (emanate28)
    emanate28: Maybe they are too similar... But both The Persian Boy and The Song of Achilles are heartbreaking and beautiful stories of legendary heroes told from the perspective of their devoted boy lovers. The ancient heroes come alive and one is transported back into those times.… (more)
  6. 30
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  7. 10
    An Arrow's Flight: A Novel by Mark Merlis (marq)
    marq: Mark Merlis also takes up the story of Pyrrhus (or Neoptolemus), Achilles’ son with Deidamia when he was in disguise as a woman on Scyros. A very different kind of novel, steampunk, wild anachronism, graphically homoerotic, brilliant.
  8. 32
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  9. 00
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  10. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  11. 00
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  12. 329
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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English (216)  Dutch (4)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  All languages (222)
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
I went into this book with really high expectations, and I was so underwhelmed. I've heard people gush over Miller's writing, and I found it average, at best. Maybe because I know how the story ends, the book was a little anti-climatic. I didn't hate it, but I'm not blown away. Although, it does make me want to go back and reread The Iliad and The Odyssey. For anyone reading this who hasn't read it yet, maybe lower your expectations a bit. I did really enjoy the relationship, so that was a plus. But everything else was just kind of 'meh.' ( )
  tntbeckyford | Feb 16, 2019 |
A retelling the story of Achilles, in first person from the point of view of his companion Patroclus. The novel starts with Patroclus' early life, through his boyhood with Achilles, up to the events of the Iliad (which I have never read). Miller, who has bachelor's and master's degrees in Latin and Ancient Greek, comes up with different interpretations of events and plausible reasons for Achilles' actions in the Iliad.

And there's no heel story - the author explains why here. This debut novel won the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction. The cover image is of a real Greek helmet, only of reflective bronze/gold. ( )
  riofriotex | Feb 3, 2019 |
Gripping. Memorable. Poignant.
Deserving of every single star.
Can't wait to read more from this author. ( )
  Elaine_Omwango | Jan 26, 2019 |
Gorgeous, lyrical, and unputdownable, this re-imagining of the Iliad through the eyes of Achilles' constant companion Patroclus is intoxicating.

Having tried and failed to read the Iliad, I found this book to bring all the characters, gods, and their attendant drama into the world of entrancing fiction. The foreshadowing was foreboding but not heavy-handed, the path to tragedy was inexorable but balanced with joy, the cultural context was accessible. Even for a known story and with the knowledge of Greek storytelling rooted in the back of my mind, Patroclus takes actions I wouldn't have expected (and his wise insights into men and power go beyond what I would have initially expected).

A visit to Greek tragedy that is as accessible as it is exquisite in storytelling and characterization -- a very rare find. ( )
  pammab | Jan 25, 2019 |
This book.... this booooooook!! I love you, Book, I love you, I love you! I.LOVE.YOU!

This is a literary masterpiece. This is a beauty. This book had made me cry just because it had to end. My God, this book!

Phew! With that out of the system and sanity creeping back to me, I can now actually write a half decent review.
The book is written from the point of view of Patroclus - CLEVER! - and depicts his life growing up befriending Achiles, growing together from children to young men and to the legends they will become. I get shivers only from thinking about the growing up passages from the book!

We all know about Homer's Illiad, we've seen Troy, we read about the Fall of Troy and about the Trojan Horse, but believe me, I am a big fan of literature inspired by Greek history/mythology, but I have not read anything like this before. I laughed and suffered with the characters, I embraced the fantasy vibe of the story, the writing was B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.
If you only read one book in your life about the romance between two men - then this is the book - I haven't found one better than this one. [Later edit after 2 years: I have found it, it was The Last of the Wine by Mary Renault]

This is a coming of age story about embracing your nature, your inner strength and living your destiny. It's a book where characters stare in the eyes of Life and howl: Look at me! I am not afraid to live as I want to live.
5 stars are too few to rate this book.
Thank you Madeline Miller!

I wish Men in Black were real so they can come and wipe away my memory so I can read the book all over again as if for the first time.
MIB, NSA, FBI anyone there that can help a girl out?

( )
  XiaXiaLake | Jan 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 216 (next | show all)
That The Song of Achilles offers a different take on the epic story of Achilles and the Trojan War is not, in itself, anything particularly out of the ordinary. People have been putting their own spins on The Iliad from the instant Homer finished reciting it. What's startling about this sharply written, cleverly re-imagined, enormously promising debut novel from Madeline Miller is how fresh and moving her take on the tale is — how she has managed to bring Achilles and his companion Patroclus to life in our time without removing them from their own.
added by Shortride | editUSA Today, Robert Bianco (Mar 12, 2012)
But in the case of Miller, who earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in classics at Brown, the epic reach exceeds her technical grasp. The result is a book that has the head of a young adult novel, the body of the “Iliad” and the hindquarters of Barbara Cartland.

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Miller, Madelineprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, FrazerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Windgassen, MichaelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is a retelling of

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To my mother Madeline, and Nathaniel
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My father was a king and the son of kings.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Haiku summary
Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


No descriptions found.

Patroclus, an awkward young prince, follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate. Set during the Trojan War.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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