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The Song of Achilles (book review) Madeline Miller

240410: this was an easy, quick read, that i had thought was simply a historical novel at the beginning, that i had to rethink what i had thought metaphor, when it became clear it was fantasy. set in bronze era greece, written perhaps for twenty-first century sensibilities.

not exactly a spoiler, this novel recounts the trojan war and achilles’s fame in killing and death, how he will become an immortal hero, from the perspective of his boyhood companion and then mature lover. so if you have lived in our western culture for a few decades, you know the story, the motivations, or at least the way it has been told. if your knowledge is limited to the movie with brad pitt… this will show how compelling, dramatic, this myth is, even concentrating wholly on the illiad, the war, the making of heroes. this will also give you an idea of how difficult it is to render as a movie, as the siege goes on for ten years, as maybe the world is too alien, too populated by gods, too savage- though she does make it rather less violent than i have read..

so, this spurs me to read up on the trojan war, to watch a few documentaries, to watch again that brad pitt movie. i cannot say my starting knowledge is more extensive. i look forward to learning more. the author here seems to know her history, knows how to delineate the battles, the love, the politics, even the gods’ roles. and it is not difficult to read...

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