The Song Of Achilles and The Never-Ending Ache of Love and Sorrow

By Chelsea Gallagher


Greek mythology has captured the minds of philosophers and bibliophiles alike with colorful stories and vivid adventures. The timeless ability to recognize a human error in Greek gods’ reactions and emotions, makes them unknowingly examples of morals, repeated for generations to come.

The myth of Achilles is simple. He was born half-mortal, half-god, and had a prophecy that he would be the greatest warrior among mankind. As the story goes, he was defeated by the son of Apollo, Paris, with an arrow that sliced the back of his ankle and made him vulnerable to death. Achilles’ tale and prophecy have been recounted several times but there is always one major difference. Who was his beloved companion Patroclus, and what is his place in Achilles’s history?

Madeline Miller writes a delicate portrayal of two souls uniting and finding light in an otherwise bleak existence. The story begins with the two boys meeting at four years old. They are both Princes and will reconnect six years after Patroclus is banished from his father’s kingdom and taken in by Achilles’ father and kingdom. Achilles represents everything Patroclus is not. Where Achilles is strong, Patroclus is meek. Where Achilles is loved, Patroclus is abandoned. Where Achilles is a half-god with a prophecy from birth, Patroclus is a mere mortal with no expectations set on his life.

While Miller connects the boys’ lives over time until they are woven as one, regardless of how it started – they regard each other as equals.  A portrait comes to the life of two boys that grow into men that will give their hearts, lives, and souls for each in a tender fashion that almost seems misplaced in a world surrounded by Greek warriors and blood lust. As a reader, you will grip the pages in a fever, wondering and hoping for them to stay protected.

As you ride the slow tide of Miller’s world and creation, you will continue basking in a story of two men living with pride and love in an otherwise violent and prideful landscape. Due to the story stretching across almost thirty years, sometimes you will forget these are grown men, and sometimes it will feel like they have escaped fate and will stay living in a forest forever.   From beginning to end, Miller’s words float with affection and tenderness, transforming a war-torn toxic embankment and caressing the readers’ imagination. Pick up your copy today and be lulled into the security of bearing witness to a mythical love story of the ages.


Chelsea Gallagher is a freelance writer living in Saigon. She is an avid bookworm and has never found a coconut coffee she hasn’t enjoyed. She is a big supporter of Paperbacks in Saigon and can’t wait to read more for the community. Please contact at [email protected] for any creative content creation.

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