Madeline Miller’s “The Song of Achilles” Puts a New Spin on the Trojan War
Whether by reading Homer’s The Illiad or by watching the movie Troy, almost everyone has heard of the legendary Greek warrior Achilles who was killed in the Trojan War. Madeline Miller’s novel The Song of Achilles isn’t the same old rehashing of the ferocious warrior’s life nor is he the brooding cinematic anti-hero as played by actor Brad Pitt.
Instead, Achilles’ tale is narrated by the love of his life, Patroclus. The former is a strong and beautiful child of a Goddess who has a great destiny before him, and the latter is a shamed and unwanted prince. Their paths cross and their friendship turns into love. Needless to say, Achilles’ mother Thetis is not happy that her son has fallen in love with a mortal.
The novel is a stunning example of the power of true love and adds a human element to the story of the Trojan War. As Achilles and Patroclus’s relationship blossoms, you can’t help but root for them even though you know they’re doomed. Miller also does a fantastic job of bringing the world of the ancient Greeks to life. Thanks to her vivid descriptions and obvious love for history, the story feels like you’ve hopped into a time travel machine to watch the Trojan War unfold before you.
Although the novel is mostly historical fiction, there’s enough fantasy (and yes, romance) to for all to enjoy.