Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller: review

Brad Pitt as Achilles in Troy
There have been plenty of books about the heroes of The Iliad; films, too, as we watched Brad Pitt buffing up for his role as the best fighter of the Greeks in Troy. Two recent books have made excellent stabs at retellings of various myths to do with the war: my favourite was Barry Unsworth's The Songs of the Kings, which, if I had time, I would definitely be re-reading. David Malouf's Ransom was also eerie and brilliant. Madeline Miller's thrown her helmet into the ring with The Song of Achilles, her debut novel.

Miller tells the tale from the point of view of Patroclus, whom she very much views as Achilles' lover (rather than as a beloved heroic companion. The debate is on.) I've reviewed it for The Sunday Telegraph - check out what I thought about it here.

I'm currently reading a new translation of The Iliad to review it for the same paper, so hold on to your horse-hair helmets for that one...

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