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The rage of Achilles by Terence Hawkins
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The rage of Achilles (edition 2009)

by Terence Hawkins, Homer.

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294676,111 (3.86)5
Blood. Guts. Pride. Wrath. The ancient clash of armies outside the walls of Troy is a cornerstone of Western literature. In The Rage of Achilles, Terence Hawkins brilliantly reimagines that titanic encounter. His stunningly original telling captures the brutality of the battlefield, the glory and the gore, in language that never relents. Raw and compelling, The Rage of Achilles tells the story of Achilles, a monstrous hero, by turns vain and selfish, cruel and noble; of Paris, weak and consumed by lust for his stolen bride; of Agamemnon, driven nearly to insanity by the voices of the gods; and of Trojans and Achaeans, warriors and peasants, caught up in the conflict, their families torn apart by a decade-long war. The Rage of Achilles is an exhilarating story that has captured the imaginations of readers for thousands of years restored to immediacy.… (more)
Member:Berkeley_Library
Title:The rage of Achilles
Authors:Terence Hawkins
Other authors:Homer.
Info:Sacramento, CA : Casperian Books, c2009.
Collections:Your library
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The Rage of Achilles by Terence Hawkins

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Amazing book...a modern version of the Iliad written in very hard to put down, explicit prose. If you are in love with the classic version and hate to see anyone fooling around with the Western canon, you will hate this. The language is wonderful, and you get the author's strong sense of the interior lives of all the principal characters. Odysseus in particular is amazing...basically an atheist with a strong sense of irony, he pretends the goddess Athena is constantly speaking to him. Achilles becomes a mostly evil character, more so than in the original (as bad as he was there). You begin to understand what the relationship between the Greek gods and people must have felt like. Best book I have read in a long time. ( )
  hmessing | Mar 22, 2012 |
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)

Although Terence Hawkins' The Rage of Achilles is an excellent book, there's really not that much to say about it from a critical standpoint: it's essentially a faithful retelling of the ancient Homer poem The Iliad, only using the kind of graphic modern language you might hear on an HBO series, and also assuming that what Homer called "the gods talking" was likely half-delusional inner-voice wish fulfillment from these constantly drunken, injured, sick, superstitious people. As such, then, I found it great, a volume that really makes the story of the Trojan War come alive in this surprisingly contemporary way (although make no mistake, it's actually set in the ancient times of the original); but to critique the plot or characters is to critique The Iliad itself, and we already have thousands of years of opinions and analysis on that subject. An adaptation that purists are sure to find silly and troubling, but others just the thing they wished they'd had when having to take all those tests in high school on the subject, although I don't have a lot to say about the book itself, it still comes strongly recommended.

Out of 10: 8.9 ( )
1 vote jasonpettus | Dec 14, 2011 |
I saw this on LT and had such hopes for it.

Unfortunately, it is little more than a comic book caricature of how a TV-trained mind thinks the Battle of Troy was 'Really' fought. Yes, it was much more gritty and raw than most literary works present it, but there is a difference between injecting some reality and turning it into MTV history ala the Tudors or the movie Troy, albeit with more sex and violence.

But even those failures have some decent characters, this book has almost none. Everyone is pretty vile. Like a choir of egomaniacs trying to out do each other. The idea writ large that the people in the past were not very smart because they weren't as advanced as we are.

Besides robbing the reader of a decent story, it pops you out of the flow. They didn't just appear on the beach to fight (of course in this book they did), but in reality these characters had a life and relationships before Troy, something that would convince them to go to war together. That subtlety is entirely absent. Yes, there were factions within the Achaeans, but within each faction they are all slagging away at each other too. As though they couldn't get enough fighting with the Trojans.

Its the kind of book that you look at the page numbers and you want it to end. Its not bad enough to chuck, but you feel like you have been sucked into a bad parody. ( )
1 vote FicusFan | Apr 18, 2010 |
Even if I were previously unacquainted with Hawkins's work, I'd be hot to recommend his first novel, The Rage of Achilles--a quick, antic, and faithful retelling of the Iliad. While The Rage of Achilles retains many of the Iliad's strengths--especially its epic scope--it offers a great deal more visceral coherence than the original, translating the ancient--and somewhat sterile--motivations (a stolen bride, a poor distribution of spoils, complicated intra-Achaeans politics, etc.) into their real bleeding, sweating, cursing, stinking human motivations. Further, Hawkins has expanded on the Iliad's genius by widening the social breadth of the narrative, which here embrace nobles, commoners, and slaves, not just men and gods.

Enthusiastically recommended to readers who like sex and fighting (of which there is much; if there are functionally literate teens in your life who have fallen under the misapprehension that the Iliad sucks, consider placing this not-even-remotely-work-or-child-safe book in their grubby, hormonal hands). ( )
1 vote mcwee | Mar 11, 2010 |
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Blood. Guts. Pride. Wrath. The ancient clash of armies outside the walls of Troy is a cornerstone of Western literature. In The Rage of Achilles, Terence Hawkins brilliantly reimagines that titanic encounter. His stunningly original telling captures the brutality of the battlefield, the glory and the gore, in language that never relents. Raw and compelling, The Rage of Achilles tells the story of Achilles, a monstrous hero, by turns vain and selfish, cruel and noble; of Paris, weak and consumed by lust for his stolen bride; of Agamemnon, driven nearly to insanity by the voices of the gods; and of Trojans and Achaeans, warriors and peasants, caught up in the conflict, their families torn apart by a decade-long war. The Rage of Achilles is an exhilarating story that has captured the imaginations of readers for thousands of years restored to immediacy.

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The Iliad told again as a novel. It is imagined neither as heroic nor epic, but rather, an account of a real war fought by real men.
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Terence Hawkins is a LibraryThing Author, an author who lists their personal library on LibraryThing.

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