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Description

The legend begins...

Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia to be raised in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles. “The best of all the Greeks”—strong, beautiful, and the child of a goddess—Achilles is everything the shamed Patroclus is not. Yet despite their differences, the boys become steadfast companions. Their bond deepens as they grow into young men and become skilled in the arts of war and medicine—much to the displeasure and the fury of Achilles’ mother, Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.

When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece, bound by blood and oath, must lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.

Built on the groundwork of the Iliad, Madeline Miller’s page-turning, profoundly moving, and blisteringly paced retelling of the epic Trojan War marks the launch of a dazzling career.

©2012 Madeline Miller (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

Ce que les critiques en disent

“[Miller] makes a persuasive argument for the timeliness of her subject. …Miller’s winning debut focuses on Patroclus, a young prince living in Achilles’ golden shadow. Miller also gives voice to many of the women who were also consigned to the shadows.” ( Publishers Weekly, Spring 2012 Preview, Top 10 Literary Fiction)
“You don’t need to be familiar with Homer’s The Iliad (or Brad Pitt’s Troy, for that matter) to find Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles spellbinding....her explorations of ego, grief, and love’s many permutations are both familiar and new....[A] timeless love story.” ( O magazine)
“A psychologically astute Iliad prelude featuring the heady, star-crossed adolescence of future heroes Patroclus and Achilles.” ( Vogue)

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Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Song of Achilles

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Au global
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Histoire
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

If I could only have one book for the rest of my life

If I could only have one book for the rest of my life it would be this one.

11 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The Trojan War gets Miller's masterful treatment

I LOVED Miller’s most recent book, Circe. Despite this, and the fact that The Song of Achilles was highly celebrated when it first came out, I was prepared to be a little disappointed by this audiobook. How could it compare to Circe, which was so masterful?! I was pleasantly surprised to find that the two were near equals. I knew little to nothing about the Trojan War and Achilles, so I assumed that his romantic relationship with Patroclus was invented by Miller for her book. A little research afterward revealed that the ancient texts could be interpreted as the two being lovers. The more you know! Frazer Douglas' narration was on point, even for the rasping tones of Achilles' mother.

4 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Ria
  • 2020-07-14

In awe...

This entire experience is poetry.
Madeline Miller’s words are so unique, making this the most soulful story I’ve heard in a while.
The narration is beautiful; voice, pace, inflections, all are amazing.
Definitely recommended.

:)

3 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible Detail

Madeline’s writing is inspired. It's more explicit than Circe and there were a couple times listening with kids around that I ran to my phone to hit pause. It's an incredible story and I couldn't stop listening!

2 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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WOW... Madeline Miller... WOW

What can I say? along with Circe, I've never encountered such a talented writer. I may be biased towards Madeline as I've never been a fan of hobbits or wizards. Though saying that; I've never come across such a personal, love filled story of ancient Greece.

While the narrator did not express Achilles' or some sub-character's voices as I would have liked, Madeline's writing more than made up for this shortcoming. I prefer to read the book only so I can decide the tone of the character's voices myself even though I've finished the audio version 4 times. I have over 30 books in my audible library but haven't fully listened to half of them because I'm always drawn to another listening of this or Circe.

Highly recommend buying or using a credit for this book!!!!

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful

Loved it, it was an original and moving take on familiar characters. I think I liked Circe more but this was still excellent. The narrator had a great range of voices and emotions, and I fully cried at one point. I'll read every book Madeline Miller writes.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Please write more books!

I simply love this book and this author. This book takes you on a journey and keeps your attention till the end

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful

Expertly written and conveyed. Compliments to the author and all who worked on bringing this story to life! It certainly takes you on for a ride filled with emotions.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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Stunning

Absolute masterpiece. Loved every minute of it. Perfect performance and story was gripping, even had me in tears at times!

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Beautiful and Captivating

Miller masterfully weaves together various Greek mythologies to create a beautiful and captivating story. The narration is superb, offering voices for each character and making The Song of Achilles come to life.

1 personne a trouvé cela utile

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  • Au global
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2021-05-22

Disappointing

Madeline Miller writes her books in the first person.
If the narrator is compelling, the result is great (Circe).
Sadly, this is not the case here. Patroclus is the most boring part of Achille’s story.
If you're interested in the mawkish sentimentality of a greek hero’s dull lover, this is the book for you.
If you’re looking for a fresh take on the Illiad, you can find better (Stephen Fry’s Troy).

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 2020-11-10

An amazing reinterpretation of a classic myth

Madeleine Miller delivers a beautiful and poetic interpretation of the myth of Achilles, told through the eyes of Patroclus, his better half. Well planned, excellently executed, it is as beautiful as it is dramatic, leaving the reader with a dull ache, wishing there were more.

  • Au global
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • bethany
  • 2020-07-04

Beautifully Written Erotica

I loved Circe and was excited to listen to this. I don't shy away from sexuality in literature, but this is absolutely dripping. I feel like I'm listen to erotica and the storyline is lost. I'm half way through and debating if I want to finish. The performance is fantastic and it's written beautifully, but I need more plot substance.

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Pierre Gauthier
  • 2020-06-06

Outstanding!

The Iliad, written down some 3000 tears ago, was essential to Greek culture. However, very few today can read or understand the ancient language and the work’s form in rhyming verse is far from today’s preferences. Summaries of the plot make it appear convoluted and characters’ motivations are at times difficult to fathom.

With this carefully written work, the author brilliantly succeeds in conveying the appeal of the Iliad to a contemporary audience, in English, of course, and in the form of a novel. At least to a non specialist, the plot appears in perfect conformity with the source’s and, wonderfully, characters come alive with humanity.

The author chooses Patroclus as narrator. He sensibly relates events as they occur to him, with no knowledge of the future. Subtly, his perception evolves as he grows from boy, to teenager, to adult, etc. Amazingly, gods and centaurs are seamlessly blended in so that they appear perfectly plausible (somewhat in the fashion of dreamlike realism of some South American writers).

The impeccable audio version is truly performed, albeit without any irritating exaggerations.

This extraordinary work is warmly recommended to all.

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  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • susan
  • 2014-06-11

Wasn't Expecting to Like It- BOY! was I wrong!!

What did you love best about The Song of Achilles?

I was familiar with Greek myths- have been fascinated with them since my fifth grade teacher had lived in Greece and fueled my interest and imagination. The author does a magical job of bringing these ancient characters to life and making them human (even if they are gods or half-god).

What other book might you compare The Song of Achilles to and why?

Any Greek tragedy, this book has all the same elements-nosey gods interfering in human lives, conflict, hubris, a tragic hero....

Which scene was your favorite?

So many! I especially liked the scenes describing characters within the myths; Achilles and. Patroclus (of course), Odysseus, Agamemnon, King Menelaus, Achilles' mother-I really enjoyed her characterizations and the narrator's interpretation of their voices. The voice of Achilles' mother was deliciously villainous and hard to forget.

Who was the most memorable character of The Song of Achilles and why?

Patroclus because he wasn't as weak as people thought he was and Achilles because he becomes more that a one dimensional hero.

Any additional comments?

I have seen a few comments that describe this book as "homo porn" and "explicit". I would like to respectfully disagree. This book is set in a different culture and time-the relationship between Patroclus and Achilles has been discussed for HUNDREDS of years. This author isn't presenting some new fangled twist or a new interpretation of the story. If that makes you uncomfortable, then perhaps this story isn't for you. Any explicit sex scenes- hetero or homo- make me uncomfortable. I'd like to add that I am a middle aged, married, goes-to-church- three-times-a-week Christian. I am also someone who enjoys well written literature. The two main characters are in a committed relationship and the intimate scenes are more like the old movies where the camera pans up to an open window and the wind gently blows the curtains- things implied but not expressed. The plot is not based on these scenes nor are they gratuitous. They are important because they show the depth of their love and respect and this is really relevant towards the second half of the book and explains their actions and choices. I put off buying this book for some time because of these comments and am so thankful that I overcame my doubts and purchased this book. If you enjoy a beautifully written story (and a well narrated one as well) I encourage you to give this one a try. I'm glad I did.

749 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Erin C
  • 2019-11-13

21st C book making Homosexuality the story

Not the Iliad. Mislabeled as historical. Makes life long best friends into teenage homosexual lovers, heavily emphasized throughout the book, which is fine, if that’s the story she wants to tell, but put that in the description and relabel as a love story. The story telling is also very drab and boring. Snoozer.

40 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Delah
  • 2012-07-09

Excellent story/narrator

Very good story, very good narrator. Madeline and Frazer had me from the first sentence and didn't let me go. I was mesmerized. Madeline Miller's novel is a thing of quality and Frazer Douglas' voice was pitch perfect. I loved listening to him. I highly recommend this book.

BTW - I hesitate to even dignify this with a response but the reviewer who called this novel "Breathy homo erotica"... couldn't be further from the truth. This novel has no erotica in it whatsoever. It has no explicit sexual scenes. It does have a romance and the romance is very tastefully done.

387 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Wayne
  • 2019-11-12

Nope.

Could not finish this book. Made it to the Achilles and Patroclus first kiss (what!?) and called it quits. Then took a look at the reviews and realized I had a lot more romance ahead and that wasn’t what I was looking for what I purchased a book about a Greek war!What every other one and two star reviewer already said.....,

17 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cariola
  • 2012-08-15

Didn't Expect to Like It, but I Was Swept Away

I didn't expect to care much for this book as I'm not all that interested in Greek myths and heroes--but what an unexpected surprise! I am so glad that I listened to the recommendation of other LTers and decided to give The Song of Achilles a go. Once I started, it was impossible to put it aside--a rare enough occurence, but rarer still when you already know how the story will end. That can only be attirbuted to Madeline Miller's gift for storytelling. Gone are the sometimes stilted characterizations of the original (due in part, no doubt, to weak translations). While the heroes here remain monumental, they are also complex men whose thoughts and emotions are all too human. While Miller never lets us forget that Achilles himself is the son of a goddess, we also see within him the vulnerability of the human condition.

The familiar story is narrated by Patroclus, Achilles's best loved companion. The son of a king sent into exile for making a tragic but shameful mistake, Patroclus befreinds the admired Achilles at the age of twelve. Miller takes us through their upbringing at the court of Peleus and their training with the centaur Chieron and on through the Trojan War, where both eventually meet their final fates. She fleshes out not only the shadowy character of Patroclus but also Thetis, Achilles's goddess-mother, his father Peleus, Chieron, Odysseus, Menalaus, Briseis, and others; and she even manages to make the exhausting battle scenes thrilling.

Perhaps the best compliment I can give to The Song of Achilles is that it has made me want to reread The Iliad.

179 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Laurie
  • 2012-06-25

Awesome

Admittedly, I do love Greek mythology. As a high school English teacher, I teach the Odyssey in class, as well as many of the short stories, so I figured I would like this book. However, I really LOVED this book. First, it was extremely well read. I felt like I was listening to a bard of old telling the story. Second, the author sticks to the basics of the Iliad story quite well. However, she is creative with adding in details that make sense but we may have never thought of. I love how she wove in the different characters and even made Agammemon the jerk that I always thought he was. In the past, I had seen Achilles as a bit of a whiny baby, not wanting to fight due to a girl being taken from him. However, Miller makes us see the story from Patroclus' point of view and Achilles is far from the whiny brat of old. She changes the story to suit her characters, but it all makes sense with what we know of Greek mythology. I was so sad when this book ended and have already recommended it to my high school seniors as a great companion to our study of the Odyssey. Highly highly recommend, but especially if you like Greek myths.

79 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ilana
  • 2012-07-28

A different take on the Iliad

While it does deal with the Trojan war and it's main participants, this is first and foremost a love story about Patroclus, a rather ordinary and not particularly talented or attractive young man, and the god-like hero Achilles. Patroclus tells us about his early childhood as a prince who couldn't live up to his father's expectations and his subsequent banishment, whereupon he is sent to live among a gaggle of boys trained to become soldiers by none other than Achilles's father. All the boys venerate Achilles for his great beauty and grace, for he is in fact the son of a goddess and as such possesses special gifts. Seemingly out of the blue one day, Achilles chooses Patroclus to be his close companion. Why he chose Patroclus, who had nothing to distinguish himself from the others, was shy and uncommunicative isn't made clear in the story, but nonetheless the boys end up spending most of their young lives together while a strong bond is formed, and eventually come to be lovers. When the war on Troy is declared, both Patroclus and Achilles are sought out by Odysseus to join the war effort. Everyone knows that Achilles is destined to be the greatest warrior of his generation, and everyone also knows about the prophesy which dooms Achilles to die shortly after having killed Hector.

Beautifully told, this story brings mythical characters to life and makes even fantastical creatures, such as a centaur and sea goddess seem absolutely believable as essential elements in the narrative. A very interesting take on a mythical tale, this made me badly want to revisit The Iliad—in fact, I almost wished I'd read it first to refresh my memory, but this is by no means essential to fully appreciate The Song of Achilles. In fact, it may be better to come to this story fresh because I know for a fact Madeline Miller took plenty of liberties with her retelling, which could bother purists. I wasn't particularly taken with the homoerotic elements of the story, but then I'm not a fan of "straight" romance and erotica either as it's all cringeworthy to me.

Frazer Douglas was an excellent narrator and added greatly to my enjoyment of this book.

79 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Jefferson
  • 2020-03-11

Juggling with Achilles

Because I love The Iliad, I embarked on Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles (2011) with high hopes. And I liked her novel a lot.

Miller’s strategy is to have Patroclus, a minor character with few lines but a vital impact in Homer, narrate the events before, during, and after those depicted in The Iliad. Her novel is vividly realized, a convincing depiction of life in ancient Greece culturally and physically, and it’s very emotional, getting us to root for poor doomed Patroclus from his sad memories of his lonely childhood through his intense friendship, education, and sexual romance with Achilles all the way to the tragic end we expect from reading The Iliad and The Odyssey. Along the way Miller imagines the mother-in-law from hell (Thetis), ruthless, brutal, and manipulating kings (Agamemnon, Diomedes, and Odysseus), and appealing supporting characters like Chiron and Briseis. Miller’s Achilles is convincing: a demi-god with a soft spot for Patroclus (who keeps him human), full of unassuming beauty and unaffected grace and disarming honesty—and of terrifying martial ability.

Apart from Thetis, the only gods to appear are Apollo and a Trojan river god in brief cameos, perhaps to focus the light of her novel on human folly, love, and violence, etc. and at the same time to highlight and enhance Thetis’ divinity and Achilles’ half divinity, as well as to explore motherhood. Although the sensual, spiritual, and tragic relationship between Achilles and Patroclus (reminiscent of the scenario typical of YA paranormal romance stories like Roswell and Twilight, wherein unpopular kids fall in love with supernatural beings) is foregrounded front and center, the fraught one between Thetis and Patroclus is finally at least as compelling.

Miller departs from Homer in some ways: her Patroclus is slightly younger and much less martial than Achilles instead of substantially older and more experienced, Achilles doesn’t have an Achilles heel and is less monstrous than his son Pyrrhus, and Thetis is more of a force, frequently appearing and actively loathing the relationship between her son and Patroclus and doing her best to undermine it.

Miller also presents Patroclus as a pacifist who prefers healing to fighting and music to war and who wishes that Achilles would be remembered for more than killing. Indeed, she is at such pains to present Patroclus as a gentle, non-violent soul that during the climax when the Trojans are starting to fire the Greek ships while Achilles is sulking to make the Greeks miss him so Patroclus dons the hero’s armor to pretend to be Achilles to save the Greeks from disaster, it feels funny when Patroclus gets carried away and starts channeling his inner Achilles and chasing after retreating Trojans and killing some and then trying to scale the walls of Troy itself (twice!). If Miller had hinted that some inimical god was riding Patroclus or influencing him in getting carried away by his Achilles impersonation, it would have been convincing, but as it was it doesn’t ring true and is left unanalyzed by the characters or implied author, so I don’t think it’s the case that Miller is saying that even a pacifist like Patroclus can become a killer like Achilles.

Miller can write too much, as with “His presence was like a stone in my shoe, impossible to ignore,” when she should have stopped right after “shoe.” And she can write too cheaply, as with “His [Chalchis’] voice wheedled and ducked, like a weasel escaping the nest,” where the stereotypically negative image of the creature doesn’t fit the situation she’s describing, as Calchis is just telling the truth about why a god is down on the Greeks.

But her writing is often very fine in her vivid descriptions and similes, when describing rocky islands or the chaos, din, and violence of ancient battle or Achilles’ physical beauty or his mother’s scary sublime aura: “Her black hair was loose down her back, and her skin shone luminous and impossibly pale, as if it drank light from the moon. She was so close I could smell her, sea water laced with dark brown honey. I did not breathe,” and “Her mouth was a gash of red, like the torn open stomach of a sacrifice, bloody and oracular. Behind it her teeth shone sharp and white as bone.”

Although the audiobook reader Frazer Douglas is a bit monotonous with the base narration of Patroclus, he does a great “hoarse and rasping” Thetis, a fine wily Odysseus, and a spot on forthcoming and upright Achilles.

Finally, Miller’s novel enriched me, but it mostly made me want to re-read The Iliad, which I will probably do a few more times before I die, whereas I bet I won’t re-read her book. But fans of Homer should read The Song of Achilles. Miller-Patroclus’ telling of a different kind of story about Achilles than that of his martial conquests is a potent and poignant achievement: “Will I feel his ashes as they fall against mine?”

8 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jessica Ward
  • 2012-03-09

Old story. New telling.

What a remarkable achievement! The author expands the story of the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus into a compelling book. Through this relationship, she adds life to the story of the Trojan War with its mingling of mortals, gods, goddesses, kings and heroes. Ms. Miller's prose is remarkable and unselfconsciously poetic. Homeric! Frazer Douglas does an intimate and perfect performance of the elegant writing.

AND I learned quite a bit about the Trojan War that I never knew or had forgotten!

40 les gens ont trouvé cela utile

  • Au global
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • cmliveyourlife
  • 2012-05-22

Beautifully written and skillfully read

What made the experience of listening to The Song of Achilles the most enjoyable?

How beautiful to hear the story of Achilles from the voice of his beloved, Patroclus. The writing is elegantly presented, believable and inviting. How I longed for the book to continue, continue, continue. A true classic.

Any additional comments?

Unless you are homophobic, the sheer beauty of the writing, and the tonal beauty of the oral reading, will intoxicate you and invite you to share an intimate story of love and longing and fate. Your own understanding of love will be enhanced by experiencing this book.

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