To some it elegantly evokes the ‘chill of antiquity’; to others it’s hamfisted and infantile. What’s your view of last year’s Orange prize winner?There are three pages of praise for The Song of Achilles inside my Bloomsbury paperback edition. Serious praise.AN Wilson says:”I read this book awestruck with admiration for the quality of its writing, its narrative pace and its imaginative depth.”Donna Tartt says:”A hard book to put down, any classicist will be enthralled by her characterisation of the goddess Thetis, which carries the true savagery and chill of antiquity.”The Guardian’s resident classics expert, Charlotte Higgins, writes:”Page turning … Nothing strikes a false note in her intricately created world.”Perhaps in response to such extravagant applause, reactions from the Reading group have been more mixed.On reaching chapter six, Nightjar12 noted:”The writing seems pedestrian, the characters cliched and the plot more appropriate for a children’s book.”This kind of objection cropped up often, and Nightjar was clearly striking a chord. There are, however, pretty strong defences against the claims of cliche and and infantilism. Miller wouldn’t be doing her job properly if the characters weren’t familiar. We’re talking about the oldest and most influential heroes in western literature, after all. As for children’s-book …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books