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LJ Ross Book Club
Staying in
April 2022
Reading time 1 Minute

Northumberland-born LJ Ross is the bestselling author of the DCI Ryan murder mystery series. Each month, she shares an exclusive Book Club pick with Living North readers

This month’s LJRBC selection is Madeline Miller’s 2011 adaptation of Homer’s Iliad, covering the story of Achilles, Greece’s greatest hero, as told from the perspective of his best friend, Patroclus. It’s an epic tale, following the relationship between both men from their first meeting until their exploits in the Trojan War, and was awarded the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2012.
The Song of Achilles, Madeline Miller

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

LJ’s thoughts:

‘Let’s be honest: for those of us who prefer to read genre fiction like crime or romance (and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that – I write crime fiction, myself!) then reading the blurb of this book might not inspire you to read it. That’s where you’d be wrong! Aside from the basic challenge of reading something a little different, this novel doesn’t fall into the general category of ‘dense historical drama’. It covers a lot of ground, yes, but the story is an absolute belter, and the style of its re-telling is elegant, uncomplicated and eminently readable. It has a bit of everything: passion, pathos, romance, friendship, drama, loss, action… there’s a reason Hollywood producers tried to capture it on film in Troy, but, despite the film’s inclusion of Brad Pitt, this book does a far better job of showing the ‘real’ Achilles; his sense of humour and capacity for love, particularly. Moreover, the book doesn’t shy away from homosexual themes that were covered in Homer’s text (unlike the screen version) which makes for a more authentic interpretation, not to mention a more inclusive one. Patroclus’ aim throughout the story is to peel back the legends surrounding Achilles and show the reader the human side of the demi-god. I thought it was a fantastic novel and I doff my cap to Miller for this deftly written, highly engaging read!’

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