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About the Book
Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the kingdom of Phthia. Here he is nobody, just another unwanted boy living in the shadow of King Peleus and his golden son, Achilles.
Achilles, “best of all the Greeks,” is everything Patroclus is not—strong, beautiful, the child of a goddess—and by all rights their paths should never cross. Yet one day, Achilles takes the shamed prince under his wing and soon their tentative connection gives way to a steadfast friendship. As they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper—despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess with a hatred of mortals.
Fate is never far from the heels of Achilles. When word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, the men of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows Achilles into war, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they have learned, everything they hold dear. And that, before he is ready, he will be forced to surrender his friend to the hands of Fate.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
“Others have penned imaginative riffs on Homer’s epics, not least Margaret Atwood in her witty and wise The Penelopiad. Yet Miller’s fantastic first novel – shortlisted for the Orange Prize – seems singular in its scope and scholarship … Miller has combined scholarship with imagination to turn the most familiar war epic into a fresh, emotionally riveting and sexy page-turner. Patroclus follows Achilles into battle, but it is their magnificent and very modern love story that makes this an epic.”
The Independent, Arifa Akbar, 20 April 2012
“ . . . A wildly romantic retelling of the Trojan Was as a story of longtime companions narrated by Patroclus. Miller plays with the historical record as established by Homer…. and puts a sexy new narrative spin on the ancients that is surprisingly suspenseful. Some of the suspense comes from curiosities, like who will tell the story after Patroclus dies, but most of it comes from the urgency of Miller’s storytelling. . . .bringing those dark figures back to life, making them men again, and while she’s at it, us[ing] her passionate companion piece toThe Iliad as a subtle swipe at today’s ongoing debate over gay marriage. Talk about updating the classics.”
Mary Pols, Time Magazine, April 2nd, 2012
“The Song of Achilles” becomes a quiet love story, one so moving that I was reluctant to move on to the war and Homer’s tale of perverted honor and stubborn pride. But Miller segues into that more public story with grace. Her battle scenes are tense and exciting, as the young, half-divine Achilles comes into his own. . . Informed by scholarship, her imagination blends seamlessly with incidents from “The Iliad.” In prose as clean and spare as the driving poetry of Homer, Miller captures the intensity and devotion of adolescent friendship and lets us believe in these long-dead boys for whom sea nymphs and centaurs are not legend but lived reality. In doing so, she will make their names known to yet another generation, deepening and enriching a tale that has been told for 3,000 years.”
Mary Doria Russell, Washington Post, March 2012 Click here for full review.
“You don’t need to be familiar with Homer’s The Iliad (or Brad Pitt’s Troy, for that matter) to find Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achillesspellbinding. While classics scholar Miller meticulously follows Greek mythology, her explorations of ego, grief, and love’s many permutations are both familiar and new…. Miller treats the men’s mutual sexual passion with refreshing straightforwardness and convincingly casts their love in such mythic proportions that we’re convinced when Patroclus declares, “He is half of my soul, as the poets say.”
Liza Nelson, O Magazine, March 2012
“Madeline Miller’s brilliant first novel, The Song of Achilles, is the story… of great, passionate love between Achilles and Patroclus, as tragic as that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. . .. . Even for a scholar of Greek literature, which Miller is, rewriting the Western world’s first and greatest war novel is an awesome task to undertake. That she did it with such grace, style and suspense is astonishing.”
Dallas Morning News, April 2012
Next to the daughter-killing Agamemnon, Achilles was my least favorite character in “The Iliad.”…How accomplished is Madeline Miller’s debut novel? Darned if she didn’t make me like the guy in Song of Achilles. Miller, a scholar of Latin and Ancient Greek, brings a remarkably conversational style to her Homeric retelling and manages to inject urgency and suspense into a tale whose outcome is already a foregone conclusion.
Yvonne Zipp, The Christian Science Monitor, April 11th, 2012
“Miller’s debut novel…is a tour de force of history, mythology, politics, and devotion… What Miller adds is depth, and life, to every character and facet of the story… Immersion into Miller’s world, with descriptions reminiscent of Mary Renault at her best, and not a single false note in the dialogue, is a true pleasure. Readers may suffer from withdrawal as they reluctantly finish this book, and this reviewer hopes to see more soon from this talented author.”
About Sing, Unburied, Sing
SHORTLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2018 WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD 2017 ONE OF BARACK OBAMA'S BEST BOOKS OF 2017 SELECTED AS A BOOK OF THE YEAR BY THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE NEW STATESMAN, THE FINANCIAL TIMES, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, TIMEAND THE BBC 'A must' Margaret Atwood 'A searing, urgent read' Celeste Ng 'Staggering' Marlon James 'Disarmingly beautiful' Spectator 'Blazing with power, grief and tenderness' Financial Times
An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Singexamines the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds.
Jojo is thirteen years old and trying to understand what it means to be a man. His mother, Leonie, is in constant conflict with herself and those around her. She is black and her children's father is white. Embattled in ways that reflect the brutal reality of her circumstances, she wants to be a better mother, but can't put her children above her own needs, especially her drug use.
When the children's father is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and drives north to the heart of Mississippi and Parchman Farm, the State Penitentiary. At Parchman, there is another boy, the ghost of a dead inmate who carries all of the ugly history of the South with him in his wandering. He too has something to teach Jojo about fathers and sons, about legacies, about violence, about love.
Rich with Ward's distinctive, lyrical language, Sing, Unburied, Sing brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first century America.
“This wrenching new novel by Jesmyn Ward digs deep into the not-buried heart of the American nightmare. A must” – Margaret Atwood, Twitter
“A novel as blazingly hymn-like as the title suggests” – Jon McGregor, New Statesman 'Books of the Year'
“Beautiful in every sense ... Her characters feel wholly true ... Long after the end, we continue to worry after them, love them in spite of their faults, and feel their pain” – Spectator
“Hauntingly lyrical” – Mail on Sunday
“A powerfully alive novel haunted by ghosts; a road trip where people can go but they can never leave; a visceral and intimate drama that plays out like a grand epic, Sing, Unburied, Sing is staggering” – Marlon James, Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2015,
“The connection between the injustices of the past and the desperation of present are clearly drawn in Sing, Unburied, Sing, a book that charts the lines between the living and the dead, the loving and the broken. I am a huge fan of Jesmyn Ward's work, and this book proves that she is one of the most important writers in America today” – Ann Patchett
One of The New York Times Book Review‘s “10 Best Books of 2015”
An NYRB Classics Original
The Door is an unsettling exploration of the relationship between two very different women. Magda is a writer, educated, married to an academic, public-spirited, with an on-again-off-again relationship to Hungary’s Communist authorities. Emerence is a peasant, illiterate, impassive, abrupt, seemingly ageless. She lives alone in a house that no one else may enter, not even her closest relatives. She is Magda’s housekeeper and she has taken control over Magda’s household, becoming indispensable to her. And Emerence, in her way, has come to depend on Magda. They share a kind of love—at least until Magda’s long-sought success as a writer leads to a devastating revelation.
Len Rix’s prizewinning translation of The Door at last makes it possible for American readers to appreciate the masterwork of a major modern European writer.
Winner of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and the Prix Femina Étranger
“Beautifully translated by Len Rix…New York Review Books Classics—acting, yet again, in its capacity as the Savior of Lost Greats—has now delivered this version to an American audience. If you’ve felt that you’re reasonably familiar with the literary landscape, ‘The Door’ will prompt you to reconsider. It’s astonishing that this masterpiece should have been essentially unknown to English-language readers for so long…suffice it to say that I’ve been haunted by this novel. Szabo’s lines and images come to my mind unexpectedly, and with them powerful emotions. It has altered the way I understand my own life. [It is] a work of stringent honesty and delicate subtlety.” —Claire Messud, The New York Times Book Review
“‘The Door’ is a deeply strange and equally affecting book, a dark domestic fairy tale about the relationship between a Hungarian writer, Magda, and her taciturn elderly housekeeper, Emerence.” —John Williams, The New York Times
“‘The Door,’ by Magda Szabo, is a Hungarian novel with the elemental force of a myth — the story of a middle-class writer and the servant who takes over her household and her life. Class dynamics, female friendship, the power of will — Szabo writes about them all with eerie fascination.” —Adam Kirsch, The New York Times Book Review
“Szabó is a master tension builder, and Emerence’s demise…is heartbreakingly rendered.” —Publishers Weekly
“Subtle, intellectual, and if not exactly unflinching then certainly told with bone-scraping honesty, this is a masterpiece.”—Emily Temple, Flavorwire
“Szabo is a deft writer. She constructs the narrative around a deeply authentic friendship while leaving unresolved the main idea: How will you conduct yourself in your quest to be an authentic writer, and what are the costs to the people who care for you?” —Diane Mehta, The Rumpus
“No brief summary can do justice to the intelligence and moral complexity of this novel. I picked it up without expectation. I read it with gathering intensity, and a swelling admiration. I finished it, and straightaway started to read it again. It is unusual, original, and utterly compelling.” —The Scotsman
“A superbly controlled and involving work of art. . . . One of Szabó’s triumphs is to have written a profound political novel that is rooted in the domestic.” —Liam McIlvanney, London Review of Books
“Clever, moving, frightening, it deserves to be a bestseller.” —Tibor Fischer, The Telegraph
“Szabó’s style (the text is brilliantly translated), laced with gentle humor, is as mesmerizing as are her characters. Her dexterous, self-ironizing distance (the autobiographical elements are obvious), the detached gestures with which the narrator interrupts herself, the muted fury that erupts in overlong or half-sentences, and a certain moral seriousness and ethical anguish also impregnate this gem of a novel. Ultimately, the text is a tranquil memento, a piece of irrefutable poetry, a bizarre counterpart to our universal betrayal—out of love.” —World Literature Today “The Door is a valuable document of a vital relationship.” —The Guardian
“The Door tells a great deal about the sufferings of 20th-century Hungary through the heart and mind of a single fearless woman, as Magda is taught by example to consider her own inadequacies. Magda Szabó’s great book was published in Hungary as long ago as 1987; Len Rix’s fluent translation is a belated and welcome gift to readers in English…profoundly moving.” —The Independent “The Door is a marvellous book dominated by female characters.” —The Times(London) “This melting pot of a novel hangs from a solid tripod of Greek myth, Biblical scripture and Slavic fairy tale, handled with style and an easy familiarity. There is a great deal here to move anyone who has watched or felt the sufferings of age.” —Glasgow Herald
“Intimate and satisfying….the tension between Magda and her housekeeper is fascinating, and sometimes sickening as well….the story celebrates love, the kind that is too perfectly made to exist on Earth.” —Claire Rudy Foster, Cleaver Magazine