Monday, April 1, 2013

Love, Sacrifice, and the Gods—The Song of Achilles

The Song of AchillesThe Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Having been a longtime fan of Greek mythology, and upon the recommendation of one of my best friends (an avid reader himself), I read Miller's The Song of Achilles that tells the story of Achilles and his relationship with Patroclus. Miller's story has a melodic quality, like one would expect from a myth, and its epic storyline unfolds in a way that she can explore the sensuality and subtle eroticism of this relationship without venturing into blatant sexual scenes. In fact, the first time Achilles and Patroclus have an intimate scene in the novel, Miller gives just enough detail to titillate the reader without being over the top. She also creates a staunch adversary for Patroclus in Thetis, Achilles' mother, a sea nymph. Her description, haunting and surreal, spotlights the austerity of the gods while giving her a maternal aspect, although a reserved one. I found myself enrapt throughout the reading, and I didn't want the story to end (although I know how the mythological tale does indeed finish). The Song of Achilles has complexities in relationships, yet it doesn't labor to read. I recommend this book to anyone who loves Greek mythology and those who want to read the story of two men whose love transcends all boundaries.

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