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The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Madeline Miller

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,9251663,552 (4.11)3 / 663
Title:The Song of Achilles
Authors:Madeline Miller
Info:Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (2011), Edition: Export ed, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Tags:fiction, retelling

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. 60
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  3. 50
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  4. 40
    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)
  5. 30
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  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. 00
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  9. 22
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  10. 00
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  11. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  12. 325
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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Showing 1-5 of 161 (next | show all)
As a trained classicist, Miller has done a remarkable job of writing a prequel to the Illiad focusing upon the homosexual relationship between Achilles and Patroclus which is only hinted at in the Illiad. Engaging and well written, the story is a nuanced telling of a blossoming love between Achilles, the Greek hero, and his boyhood companion, Patroclus, an exiled prince. The novel also explores the love for a child by parents and the rare love between a king and queen in arranged marriages. A prose narrative told from the perspective of Patrolcus makes for an interesting and novel conceit. ( )
  MitchChabraja | Oct 7, 2016 |
Yes, this pulled me in like Mary Renault's books used to. No, I don't understand why. ( )
1 vote MarthaJeanne | Sep 14, 2016 |
A slow start, but very well finished. The author hints a similar undertaking with The Odyssey - featuring Circe - is possible... ( )
  ericmcherry | Sep 14, 2016 |
The story of Achilles as told by Patroclus.

The first half of this book was an excellent touching story of childhood and then young love.

Unfortunately it all fell apart when we got to the Trojan War. Patroclus is not only not as good a warrior as Achilles (well, no-one is, that's the point) but he has no warrior skills at all. While everybody else is off fighting, Patroclus just moons about the camp until he stumbles across the medical tent and discovers a talent for battlefield surgery. And yet we have to believe that he is popular and respected. This is just not believable for a Homeric hero.

If you are telling the story of Achilles with Patroclus as your narrator, the problem is of course that Patroclus dies first. The last 30 or 40 pages are supposed to be narrated by Patroclus's ghost, which is fine, but the author didn't really bring it off. The ending, where Thetis arranges for them to be re-united in the afterlife, did make my eyes moisten a little, but really I should have been bawling my eyes out. ( )
2 vote Robertgreaves | Aug 26, 2016 |
This story is historical fiction. There has been a lot of debate about whether or not the author strayed from the Illiad. It doesn't matter whether or not she did. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the story. ( )
  scot2 | Jul 25, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 161 (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
Madeline Millerprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Douglas, FrazerNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Saltzman, AllisonCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorpe, DavidReadersecondary 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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Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


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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)

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