The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

This is the story of Achilles at the Trojan war; the journey he undertook to get there and his battles while outside the city’s famous walls.  And it’s told by his friend, lover and companion, Patroclus.  Immediately it’s bittersweet: Patroclus, so important in Achilles’s life when he was alive and so pertinent to the Greek’s when he died, this tale of Achilles is told through his eyes and he’s not even in the title.  This sets the tone of the book from the start.  Miller’s writing is extraordinary.  Accessible and yet poetic.  Her characters are heroic, but so very human and so very relatable.  Patroclus is not the power behind Achilles’s throne, but the force behind his heart, the source of the passion that keeps it beating.  This is not a gay book.  It’s a heroic love story – love not just sexual, but of bound friendship, respect and compassion.  It’s a true, pure love and it’s not told in any kind of sentimental way.  I am struggling to put into words how Miller has portrayed Patroclus and Achilles.  These are manly men that do not resent the desires of their hearts.  This is no Brokeback Mountain-esque journey.  The Song of Achilles is a beautiful, masculine story and the ending is exceptionally powerful.

4.25 out of 5

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