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Achilles by Elizabeth Cook


by Elizabeth Cook

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An evocative retelling of the story of Achilles. It begins with him in Hades then tells his story from birth to death and beyond. The novella was a glorious, intense prose-poem. I especially liked the childhood of Helen; episode of Chiron, the wounded centaur and healer making Achilles' ash spear; and the meeting of Achilles and Priam. I thought any connection of Keats with the story was tenuous at best and did not see why the author even included it. Did I miss something?

Recommended but for the Keats episode tacked on. ( )
  janerawoof | Jul 14, 2015 |
Inconsistent. Some passages are beautifully rendered, but the narrative is quite uneven in others. Beware: style-wise it's neither poetry nor novel but a blend. ( )
  Voracious_Reader | Apr 12, 2014 |
Achilles retells the story of, as you might have guessed, Achilles. Told in a poetic prose (i.e. annoying, disjointed sentence structure), Elizabeth Cook takes the famous hero of Greek mythology and adds another 107 dull, unnecessary pages to the legend.

I suppose the writing is sort of good, at times, when she isn't spoiling it with crude and distracting vulgarity. I suppose some might consider the retelling of Achilles' life interesting, although I found a minimal amount of worthwhileness here. I suppose those who may nurture a particular fondness for Homer and his work may find the book worth suffering through, as well.

I, on the other hand, am happy to be done with it. ( )
  Ape | Jul 29, 2011 |
A mistake. A moment ago Achilles had needed Odysseus. Now he lets him go, his face dark with scorn.
'What's that to me? Don't you know that it's sweeter to be alive - in any shape or form - than lord of all these shadows?'

A poetic retelling of the story of Achilles, including his upbringing, the Trojan War, and the meeting between the dead Achilles and Odysseus, who has followed Circe's instructions on how to call the dead to meet with him. I'm not sure why the poet Keats makes an appearance in the final section. ( )
  isabelx | Apr 10, 2011 |
The story of Achilles. Lovely writing. ( )
  mari_reads | Mar 26, 2011 |
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For Jonathan Nevitt
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Two rivers. Flowing in contrary directions.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312311109, Paperback)

Born of god and king and hidden as a girl until Odysseus discovers him, Achilles becomes the Greeks’ greatest warrior at Troy. Into his story comes a cast of fascinating characters—among them Hector, Helen, Penthiselaia the Amazon Queen, and the centaur Chiron; and finally John Keats, whose writings form the basis of a meditation on the nature of identity and shared experience. Achilles is an affirmation of the story’s enduring power to reach across centuries and cultures to the core of our imagination.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:06 -0400)

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"This retelling of the epic tale of Achilles recreates Homer's fated hero in a new and vivid reality. Elizabeth Cook's mesmerising poetic voice weaves the interlocking stories of Achilles and the central figures of his legend into a many-layered exploration of achievement and loss, of choice and inescapable destiny." "Born of the sea-nymph Thetis by the mortal King Peleus, hidden as a girl on Skiros until Odysseus discovers him, Achilles becomes the Greeks' greatest warrior at Troy. Into his story come others - among them Hector, Helen, Penthiseleia the Amazon Queen and the centaur Chiron; and finally John Keats, whose writings form the basis of a meditation on the nature of identity and shared experience."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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