Miller's prose is incredibly plain. Her language is unadorned and direct, but like an arrow it strikes at the reader's heart. I especially love her presentation of Chiron, Odysseus, and yes, even Achilles--a character on the first read of the Illiad that I found pompous and annoying.
Her choice of a protagonist is her first and best step toward creating an unforgettable book. I love novels that are told from the "outsider" perspective, and Miller has managed to take a story we all know and turn it on its head. This alone could make me love her novel, but what could be a parlor trick becomes more and more relevant as our anti-hero takes his journey to Troy's gates.
Her female characters and her portrayal of women in general feels terrifyingly accurate. Miller is a classical scholar, so I know that she has years of research and education rattling around as she wrote this book. And yet, when I read the text, that sense of knowing goes beyond reason and begins to fall into the realm of sense and emotion. It's this "felt sense" that moved me and the teenage girls in Literature Club to screaming excitement at how good this book really is!
Read it. And then recommend it to two other people and fanatically convince them to read it. *Notable for its ability to bring discussions of gender, power, and sexuality into any room. My husband and I ended up talking about it for at least an hour after I convinced him to pick it up for a quick read.
Coranna Adams is a writer, filmmaker, and educator from Asheville, North Carolina.