Friday, 5 August 2016


 I’m not usually a big fan of mythological fiction but I thank every one of the Greek and non-Greek gods that I decided to give this one a try. The Song of Achilles is one of the few novels that managed to shake me to the core and affect me in a way that I can’t even describe. All I can say is, I cried me a river reading it. It was simultaneously heart-warming and heart-breaking. And it was a book that stayed with me long after I read it.


Title: Song Of Achilles
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Mythological fiction
Trigger Warnings: Rape, Violence

TSOA is a retelling of a small, insignificant part of Homer’s The Iliad. For those who don’t know what Iliad is, it is a Greek epic poem about the Trojan War (between the Greeks and the Trojans). Achilles, the Greek warrior, was one of the war-heroes in the Trojan War and one of the most important characters of The Iliad. Miller adapts the story of Achilles and retells it from the point of view of Patroclus, his best friend. She re-imagines their friendship as a romance between the two and succeeds in creating an absolutely brilliant love story.

                       Miller mostly stays true to the original Greek legend and the chronology of the incidents leading to the Trojan war is unaffected. The only artistic license she takes is in exploring the intimacy of the relationship between Greece’s greatest warrior and his best friend. TSOA begins with the young prince Patroclus being exiled to the kingdom of Myrimdons to be raised there. It is there that he meets Achilles, the son of Peleus, king of Myrimdons and the nymph goddess Thetis. The arrogant and perfect Achilles and the underdog Patroclus develops an unlikely friendship. They soon grow close and their friendship blooms into something more. Their love was not easy though. Amid war and vengeful opposition from Thetis, they always had a cloud of inevitable doom hanging over their love for each other. They knew it would never be a happily ever after for them even though that was all they ever wanted.
          The love story of Achilles and Patroclus is raw and devastating. Even with a little bit of knowledge about Greek mythology, the reader would know that a story with Achilles will be a tragedy. I have read The Iliad but never had any emotional attachment towards Achilles. But Miller transforms both Achilles and Patroclus to characters we can’t help but root for, even with all their shortcomings. Patroclus is endearing in his earnestness to overcome his fragilities and we sympathise with him as he survives in a culture that respects only heroes and Gods and he is neither.   Achilles, for all his vanity and arrogance, is a brave and righteous man and his intense love for Patroclus makes us wish that they would get the happy ending that they have always dreamed of.
            Madeline Miller spins an incredible tale of an unlikely romance in an extremely believable way in TSOA and keeps the reader hooked from the first line to the very last. Her writing is crisp, her plotlines are brilliantly constructed and perfectly executed and most importantly her facts and situations run parallel to the original tale making the adaptation an entirely conceivable one. I suggest everyone give this a try even if mythological fiction is not your thing. You definitely won’t regret it.

Rating: 4.5/5

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let us know what you think.