“He is half of my soul, as the poets say.”
There are some books that live up to the hype, others that are let downs, then, there are a few others that, when you read it, it feels like any other book, and then, slowly, as the book nears its end, hits you with a bucket of feels like an airplane hurling straight for a mountain. This book belongs in the third category.
Let me tell you something, Madeline and I may speak the same language, but she and I are on two different ends of the spectrum. When I say that this book made me bawl like a two year old, I am not kidding. I have never suffered so much pain in a very long time. It really is amazing how someone with access to a few alphabets can do to you.
Now, I will admit I haven’t read Iliad yet but I don’t think you need to to enjoy this book. I mean, its the Trojan war! Everyone knows the Trojan War, right? This is basically that, but with emphasis on the characters instead of the actual war.
“We were like gods at the dawning of the world, & our joy was so bright we could see nothing else but the other.”
Told through Patroclus’s eyes, we see one of the profound love stories I have ever read.
“In the darkness, two shadows, reaching through the hopeless, heavy dusk. Their hands meet, and light spills in a flood like a hundred golden urns pouring out of the sun.”
Make no doubt, this story is about Patroclus as its about Achilles. Miller, in her ingenious way, has combined one of the most overshadowed love story with one of the greatest wars in Greek Mythology. Their love story was so poetically written, so tragically summarized, that mere words cannot do it justice.
What I loved about this book was, the way neither of them ever goes into detail about how much they truly care about each other. At least, not with each other. Patroclus, the biggest simp to have ever lived, talks about how much he loves Achilles as soon he laid eyes on him. However, even without words, even without sentences, their love for each other is described so well that you can cut the tension in the room with a knife.
“Achilles. Who was he if not miraculous, and radiant? Who was he if not destined for fame?”
Needless to say, I loved the characters. Achilles, strong, handsome, so majestically heroic, with a prophecy foretold. He was so determined to outrun his prophecy. The ease in which he carried himself, the subtle changes in his personality as time went on. From the tiny naive boy who trusted everybody to the completely different person that years at war changed him into. It was tragic to watch him grow up, to come in terms with what his life had reduced to. The cost of his youth.
I will never leave him. It will be this, always, for as long as he will let me.”
Patroclus, who was so adorably lovable. He was like a lovesick puppy. Even though, he was a shadow to Achilles, even in his own mind, his loyalty was unparalleled. The only one who kept Achilles at bay, his refuge and freedom. The one who was an anchor to him throughout his life. I think more than the fact that Pat was Achilles’s lover, he was Achilles’s conscious. He fought for things that Achilles could not. He reminded him of how good he was. He kept him anchored.
“And perhaps it is the greater grief, after all, to be left on earth when another is gone.”
The worst thing about this book was rereading it and noticing all the subtle hints scattered everywhere. I wanted to scream. The ending wasn’t something none of us saw coming. We were given clues every step of the way. That’s why the sense of foreboding was so accurate with this book. We should have been prepared but we let it gut us like a fish.
That being said, this book was one of my favorite reads of this year and my second favorite from this writer (after Circe).
“I am made of memories.”