Reflection: The Song of Achilles


To ease myself back into this blog, I thought I would talk about one of my all time favourite novels: The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

I first read this book when I was sixteen and an ex-friend’s girlfriend told me she couldn’t get through it without crying. I read it once, thought it was sad enough and put it aside. Then I read it again, properly, and had a good old ugly-cry at several points in the book. It is now a firm favourite.

The way Miller writes is like liquid poetry. The words flow onto the page like quicksilver, languid yet urgent at the same time. The descriptions, the settings, the ending that never fails to devestate me no matter how many times I’ve read it. I could, and have, read it over and over again, sections, pages, the whole book.

I devour Miller’s characterisation, the way she makes me feel as though Patroclus and Achilles are not archaic figures but real humans, boys who fell into love and then into war together. It is a tragedy because of its love story, and I feel as though any aspiring writer, or any person who still believes Achilles and Patroclus were merely ‘close friends’ (this one goes out to all of the academic articles I’ve suffered through) should grab a copy and read it over and over, until their entire soul has been consumed by the wonder that is this book.

It has stayed with me for three years, and I doubt it will ever fade.

– Rhan