Archive for June, 2012

The Song of Achilles starts with the story of Patroclus and is told from his point of view, from when he was the son of a king on his father’s island, to his exile to the court of Achilles’ father.  While in exile, Patroclus is quiet and tries to stay out of the way of the other adopted boys, but Achilles, a vibrant, popular, handsome and outgoing young man,  soon attaches himself to Patroclus, and the two end up spending every minute of their days together, to the wonderment of those around them.  Achilles is the son of a king and a sea nymph, so he is not completely mortal, as is Patroclus.  Most people know that Achilles’ future has been foretold and that he is destined to be the best fighter in the world.  What most people also don’t know is that he will die at a young age, although Achilles and Patroclus and Achilles’ mother know this prophecy.

The main storlyine of The Song of Achilles follows Achilles and Patroclus to Troy, as they bring Achilles’ army to join the other kings’ armies that have gathered to wage war on Troy, whose prince stole Helen of Sparta from her rightful husband.  I was really surprised that this book focused so much on the homosexual relationship between Achilles and Patroclus, although I think it was necessary in order to establish the deep bond between the two of them.   While it is not clear if they had such a relationship in real Greek mythology, the stories show that the two were exceptionally close and that homosexual relationships among young men was not out of the ordinary.  The story in The Song of Achilles is told extremely well, with enough information about the Gods and their relationships with mortals, to help any layperson not familiar with Greek mythology (i.e., Me) to enjoy this book.  I have now decided to tackle Homer’s Illiad!!


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