Cook, Elizabeth

07/02/2002 | Paperback |

ISBN: 9780413771391

About Achilles

An unforgettable and deeply moving work of fiction

This powerful passionate and beautifully crafted retelling of the epic tale of Achilles recreates Homer's fated hero in a new and vivid reality. Elizabeth Cook's mesmerising poetic voice weaves the interlocking stories of Achilles and the central figures of his legend into a many-layered exploration of achievement and loss, of choice and inescapable destiny. 

Born of the sea-nymph Thetis by the mortal King Peleus, hidden as a girl on Skiros until Odysseus discovers him, Achilles becomes the Greeks' greatest warrior at Troy. Into his story come others - among them Hector, Helen, Penthiseleia the Amazon Queen and the centaur Chilron; and finally John Keats, whose writings form the basis of a meditation on the nature of identity and shared experience.



Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook



'An instant classic, I have never read anything like it. Cook retells Achilles' story, making the reader feel that it exists in a present tense. Her writing is charged: every moment matters, each word counts, as if time were running out. It is as if the writing itself were a heroic enterprise...a terrifying, erotic tour de force'

Kate Kellaway The Observer



'Extraordinary, and extraordinarily successful ... what the late Angela Carter did for the folk-tale or fairy-story, Cook is here doing for the classical epic'

Sara Maitland The Spectator



'A masterful retelling of the myth – a short, intense account of a short, intense life, closer to being a poem than a novel; if not verse, then at least prose with blood pressure'

Thomas Jones London Review of Books



'It is of such a soaring, seductive quality that it makes you wonder why human beings ever do anything with their free time but sit in circles, telling great stories ... A shining experience, not to be forgotten'

Joyce McMillan Scotsman



'A remarkable renewal of the tales of the ancient hero... A prose poem with the sensuous commitment of Christopher Logue, it also has something of the intellectuality, and indeed the layered allusiveness, of Thomas Mann'

Michael Silk Times Literary Supplement

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