Friday, June 8, 2012

The Song of Achilles and other Orange Prize Winners

The Orange Prize for Fiction celebrates the best in English language fiction written by women. This year's recipient is Madeline Miller for her debut novel The Song of Achilles (M).

Joanna Trollope, Chair of Judges, said: "This is a more than worthy winner - original, passionate, inventive and uplifting. Homer would be proud of her."

The novel is an inventive retelling of the Greek myth of Achilles, the famed warrior. Here is Library Journal's assessment:

"The story of the Trojan War is well known thanks to Homer's Iliad. Debut author Miller has chosen to retell this epic from the point of view of Patroclus, an exiled Greek prince who is taken in by Peleus, the father of Achilles. It isn't long before the lonely boy is befriended by Achilles. Over the years their tentative friendship grows into a deep and passionate love that stands firm in the face of the disapproval of their elders, dire prophecies, and the wrath of the gods themselves. Miller skillfully weaves tender scenes of the boys' relationship with breathtaking descriptions of battles and their bloody aftermath. 

Miller's degrees in Latin and Greek as well as her passion for the theater and the history of the ancient world have given her the tools to create a masterly vision of the drama, valor, and tragedy of the Trojan War. Readers who loved Mary Renault's epic novels will be thrilled with Miller's portrayal of ancient Greece. This reviewer can't wait to see what she writes next" - Library Journal

The Orange Prize for Fiction is an excellent source for reading suggestions. Why not also consider one of theses past winners:

A Spell of Winter (M)
by Helen Dunmore

The Road Home (M)
by Rose Tremain

Small Island (M)
by Andrea Levy

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