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The Song of Achilles (2011)

by Madeline Miller

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6,7913841,131 (4.18)4 / 935
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.
  1. 140
    The Penelopiad: The Myth of Penelope and Odysseus by Margaret Atwood (1morechapter)
  2. 100
    The Iliad by Homer (alalba)
  3. 100
    The King Must Die by Mary Renault (wrmjr66)
  4. 50
    Circe by Madeline Miller (sturlington)
  5. 50
    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.
  6. 50
    The Mask of Apollo by Mary Renault (shaunie)
  7. 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)
  8. 30
    Ransom by David Malouf (jbvm)
  9. 42
    Grendel by John Gardner (fugitive)
    fugitive: Another brilliantly retold classic by a modern author.
  10. 10
    Lavinia by Ursula K. Le Guin (knhaydon)
    knhaydon: Modern retelling of a classical myth, narrated by a character with a less central part in the original source text(s).
  11. 10
    Alcestis by Katharine Beutner (rarm)
  12. 10
    The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks (novelcommentary)
    novelcommentary: Similar narrative idea
  13. 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.
  14. 00
    The Love Artist by Jane Alison (jbvm)
  15. 00
    The Hostage by Kathryn Berck (quartzite)
    quartzite: Set in Bronze Age Greece about descendants of Hercules seeking to reclaim their patrimony.
  16. 340
    Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (TomWaitsTables)
    TomWaitsTables: Because Song of Achilles is Homer's Illiad as a Twilight novel. Sorry.

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English (372)  Dutch (6)  French (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Spanish (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (383)
Showing 1-5 of 372 (next | show all)
just read something else

Hector your time will come

( )
  Isabelle_963 | May 19, 2022 |
Nowhere near where I thought this book was to take me. It is a homosexual journey into the love between a God-like human and his lover through the eyes of the lover. I really don't know what I was expecting but this was not it. It made me uncomfortable, not in the sense that there are explicitly sexual scenes but in the lover's descriptions of his feelings. The story ends in an unusual way with the death of both of them not in any way satisfying to the reader. I'd have to say well that is to be expected except that this is a work of fiction and not of fact. ( )
  Bauernfeind | May 11, 2022 |
So, so beautiful! ( )
  Aubslynn22 | May 2, 2022 |
3.5 stars
I think that the last chapters are the best ones because it has the most action.
This book focuses on character development and there is little about the world outside narrator's mind. I prefer books with more "action" than personal develpment, but it is not always the rule.
There are a lot of books similar to this one that I liked more. For example, I prefered a lot more Circe by the same author.
If you are not like me, then you will really enjoy this book a lot ! ( )
  Hanna_Rybchynska | Apr 29, 2022 |
Well, I was warned. I knew what I was getting into with this, except that I didn’t fully. Everyone: “Oh, you’ve got to read it! It’s amazing!” Also everyone: “It’s going to rip out your heart and totally destroy you!” And they were right, on both counts. I knew I’d probably cry, though I didn’t anticipate breaking down in full, choking sobs for the last few chapters.

I think this book was enhanced for me by my recent reading of Hayes’ A Thousand Ships, which, although written from very different perspectives, added an extra layer of emotional context that let me begin reading this book already immersed in the drama. I already knew and admired Briseis; I already knew and dreaded what was coming when Chryses strode into the Greek camp. Knowing Andromache’s and Hecuba’s coming pain added layers of complicating ache to Hector’s first appearance on the battlefield.

But it was Patroclus who Ms. Miller made me love, and it was Patroclus for whom I cried uncontrollably. The book HURT. And that’s all due to the author’s fantastic work. Hats off. ( )
  clrichm | Apr 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 372 (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
First words
My father was a king and the son of kings.
I could recognize him by touch alone, by smell; I would know him blind, by the way his breaths came and his feet struck the earth.  I would know him in death, at the end of the world.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English


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.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Achilles, "the best of all the Greeks," son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods' wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.
Haiku summary
Short introduction

To the classic Iliad

With misplaced passion.


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