The Song of Achilles Book Review
Author: Madeline Miller
Genre: Fantasy, Mythology, Fiction
When I was young, I believed that all the men who identified themselves as gay, are the ones who had discriminated against women in their previous lives. Perhaps, God’s way of settling scores for their wrong deeds of the past. But as I grew up, I realized it is not just men who discriminate against women and gays. Every person discriminates against the other who is different in any conspicuous or inconspicuous manner. It is not God’s wrath if a man is gay. Instead, it is the misery of people who can’t respect and recognize dissimilarities in fellow humans.
The moment I put down Circe, the other book by Madeline Miller, I knew I would be reading The Song of Achilles soon. I had fallen in love with her storytelling, character portrayal, and writing style back then. I wanted to read more of Greek mythology from her eyes. So, it was just a matter of time. 2021 was a good year of reading, and I wanted to make it even more memorable by adding The Song of Achilles to the list.
The Song of Achilles: Book Review
I picked this book unaware that it has gay romance. It is only when a feeling in Patroclus stirred for the first time for Achilles did I realize this story has two heroes. The other thing I did not know because of my sheer ignorance is that Madeline’s story is based on the Ancient Greek epic Iliad, composed by Homer. I haven’t seen the movie Troy (I am not a Brad Pitt fan), so this was my first exposure to the great heroes and the Trojan War of 12th century BC.
In short, the heavens and Greek gods decided to unleash the story on me through the poetic and calming yet powerful words of Madeline Miller. I am still amazed by the beauty and simplicity of the book.
Patroclus and Achilles are the most beautiful characters I’ve ever known. They are so different from each other yet abound by a common thread of divine love. Their love, admiration, and respect for each other is moving. They are yin and yang in the way they complement each other. Their honesty and transparency to each other, their unfiltered communication, keeping each other grounded, utmost and unwavering trust in each other, and their deep-rooted devotion to each other has left me yearning for a love like this.
They were both kids when they met. Over the years, they grow into dissimilar people with distinctive destinies to fulfill, yet their souls are more united than ever before. To be honest, reading gay romance and intimacy has always been a bit awkward for me (Perhaps because of my prejudiced mind). But The Song of Achilles most aesthetically portrays the love scenes, that it feels the gay romance has been normalized for me, forever. Thank you, Madeline Miller.
I am overwhelmed by the story. This book is essentially a love story. The story slowly progresses from the time when they first meet as kids to becoming men. They encounter situations growing up that try to take them apart, but their need to stay together triumphs over everything. The story keeps you drawn to the characters, and the sweetness of their story never loses its charm. It gradually leads to the Trojan War, and the time comes when their love story collides with their destiny.
Madeline Miller has portrayed all the other powerful characters in the book with a natural flair. Whether you like them or not, they have been very fluidly interwoven into the story. The Trojan War is as vivid as it can get, and I could easily picture the events unfolding one after the other in my mind. It may have happened in the 13th century, but it transpired in every cell of my mind through the magical words of Madeline Miller.
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Happy Reading. Chao!
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