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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles (original 2011; edition 2017)

by Madeline Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,2912442,550 (4.11)4 / 819
Title:The Song of Achilles
Authors:Madeline Miller
Info:London : Bloomsbury, 2017.
Collections:Your library
Tags:general fiction verily, classics, retelling, read 2019

Work details

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (2011)

  1. 110
    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
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  6. 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)
  7. 32
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  8. 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.
  9. 00
    Circe by Madeline Miller (sturlington)
  10. 00
    The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker (konallis)
    konallis: A very different view of Achilles, from the point of view of his captured prize, Briseis.
  11. 00
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  12. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  13. 00
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  14. 330
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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English (237)  Dutch (4)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  French (1)  All languages (243)
Showing 1-5 of 237 (next | show all)
I was initially a lot less enthusiastic than most about this novel. It's interesting to have a backstory for our heros Patroclus and Achilles, but the story didn't grab me until everyone got to Troy. Then Patroclus's observations of Achilles, his nature and behavior, became very interesting to me, as did the battles. I'm reading the Illiad now with a group, and we are in the thick of the battles; it was interesting to have another, close-up view of the Greeks, and of Achilles.

Miller arranges a happy start and a happy ending of sorts for our heroes. It's kind, but sort of sugar-coated. ( )
  ffortsa | Aug 7, 2019 |
Have always enjoyed reading Greek myths and have been wanting to read this book for a long time - it did not disappoint! I am now looking forward to reading Circe! Highly recommend. ( )
  carolfoisset | Aug 3, 2019 |
Confession: up until now, my exposure to the Iliad was limited to the movie Troy and my husband's ranting about said movie. So in some ways, this was a discovery. In most ways, it was a really good read.

One of the highlights of the book for me was the way it trod a line between the modern understanding and sensibility of the reader and the understanding and sensibilities of the characters and time depicted. I feel like it was really clear and deft at showing how things were--how they must be, how everyone knew they just were--while simultaneously not shying away from how horrifying and impossible those things are to a modern audience. (Attitudes about and behaviour towards women. Also attitudes about and what is expected of a man.)

To a certain extent, I think it probably dipped our narrator-hero Patroclus too deeply into modern acceptability, but that fitted with the book's key theme and questions: What is heroism? What fame is truly worth the remembering? What makes a good man? By setting Achilles and Patroclus alongside each other, not in opposition but in counterpoint, a lot of things could be explored.

And they were explored well. The language is good, the emotional developments are strong, the tragedy looms and lifts and swoops. The surrender to destiny didn't quite grip me through the final movements of the book, but the ending was very satisfying. ( )
  cupiscent | Aug 3, 2019 |
I finished Circe and immediately ordered this book upon finding Miller had others. I didn't adore this one as much as Circe, but I still enjoyed it very much. As a lover of Greek myths, I enjoyed being able to eek so much more detail and insight out of the tale of the famous warrior Achilles.

As in Circe, Miller chooses a rather bland, easily looked over player in her story from which to speak, someone otherwise unremarkable and very aware of this quality of themselves. I think this allows her sadly mortal readers to fit the mask of her narrator more closely onto their own faces and become emotionally immersed in the novel.

The love between Achilles and Petroclus is beautifully celebrated, and Miller doesn't allow this hero's consort to fade into the shadows of Achilles any longer. ( )
  Samberry | Aug 3, 2019 |
Fun story. I think Miller's "Circe" was better, more original. This had more of a plot, but not an interesting one. The writing is often overdone, and the characters are not believable. Miller loves telling you how epic everything is. I was hoping more for a legend brought to life than a retelling from a different angle. ( )
  breic | Jul 16, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 237 (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

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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.

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