I’ve put off reading Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles for far too long. As punishment from the gods, I couldn’t put it down and when I finished it, I fell into a week long sorrow of fasting and sobbing. Well, maybe not fasting. It’s so much easier to eat your feelings then starve them, am I right?
The Song of Achilles is a retelling of The Illiad and all that comes with it. The Greek gods with all their fury, glory and honour. And man love. For those of you who are more familiar with the Brad Pitt version of Troy (cue drooling):
You’ll remember that Achilles (played by Pitt) has a cousin named Patroclus. In the original tale, the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus is central to the story. They are best of friends and very much in love. Miller’s beautiful retelling goes back to the days of their youth of frolicking in the ocean and cuddling in the centaur’s cave. She traces the story into the fights on the front lines.
The Song of Achilles speaks the language of lovers. Told from the perspective of Patroclus, there are long passages of his admiring of Achilles’ demi-god features. His beautiful bronze skin, his thunder thighs, his amazing pectorals. This is just my interpretation of Miller’s much used “this, this and this”. We get it, Patroclus, Achilles is beautiful.
But alas, Achilles and Patroclus must die. And it’s so much sadder when you’ve grown up with them.