The Song of Achilles: three books to read if you loved him

La Canzone di Achille: tre libri da leggere se lo hai amato

If The Song of Achilles made you fall in love with retellings of Greek mythology, these three books that we propose must absolutely not be missing from your reading list, or from the readings of people who know you loved this novel

The Song of Achillesretelling of the Iliad based on the story of Achilles and Patroclus, is the debut book of Madeline Miller and undoubtedly one of the most read books of recent years. With Circe, by the same author, this title marked the beginning of a revival season of Greek mythology and epic, worlds that almost all of us have faced at school and which, perhaps even for only a short period of time, will have captivated and enthralled like never before. Here then is below three books which we advise you to read if La Canzone di Achille has struck you, or to give as a gift if you know some fans of the book and you are desperate for a Christmas present!

The Iliad | Books to read if you loved the Song of Achilles

How not to mention in this top three the book that inspired The Song of Achilles? L’Iliade it is a masterpiece of classical Greek literature, a pearl which, despite its length and language, must be read. For the few who don’t know it, this work (attributed to Homer) tells of the very last periods of the Trojan War and its conquest by the Achaeans (the Greeks). The themes touched upon in the narration are manifold, and range from the importance of heroism – a fundamental value for a fighter of the time – to war, also touching on themes such as family affection and the humanity of the Gods, creatures with supernatural powers, but even deeply capricious.

To make the most of the experience, we suggest the following edition, translated by Rosa Calzecchi Onesti and with facing Greek text.

Calliope’s song

Written by Natalie Haynes, this book is perfect if you want to read the Trojan War from an almost forgotten perspective: the female one, that of women who somehow suffered the conflict, directly or indirectly. In fact, Calliope’s song tells of the women of war, those like Penelope who saw their husbands leave, and those like Helena and Andromache, who have experienced it firsthand and whose outcome has completely changed their lives. If the sweet lines collected in The Song of Achilles have not fully satisfied you, the strong feelings enclosed by Haynes’ writing in this book will undoubtedly soften you.

The Torch | Books to read if you loved the Song of Achilles

Written by Marion Zimmer Bradleyalso The Torch it transports us into the female universe of the Trojan War, but it does it in a different way. The war that Homer tells us sees powerful male names, such as Achilles, Hector and Paris: men who give great proofs of courage and fight for honor and power, but we often forget that the women of this war were not just pieces of meat to redeem. Powerful and wise, history and blood have silenced their voice, except that of one of them, already ignored at the time: Cassandra. Daughter of Hecuba and Priam, she was chosen by Apollo as his priestess, and from him she received the gift – and at the same time curse – of Vista; but when he prophesies the war between the Achaeans and the Trojans and the defeat of the latter, no one listens to her anymore, no one believes a single word of hers anymore.

So here are the books that we strongly recommend you read if you loved The Song of Achilles, or to give as a Christmas gift to someone you know loved that book! Giving a book as a gift and nurturing the love of reading is a very important gesture, especially at a time when there are fewer and fewer readers in Italy.