Book - 2009
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In his first novel in more than a decade, David Malouf--arguably Australia's greatest living writer--gives us a stirring reimagination of one of the most famous passages in all of literature: Achilles' rageful slaughter and desecration of Hector, and Priam's attempt to ransom his son's body in Homer's The Iliad .
A moving novel of suffering, sorrow and redemption, Ransom tells the story of the relationship between two grieving men at war: fierce Achilles, who has lost his beloved Patroclus in the siege of Troy; and woeful Priam, whose son Hector killed Patroclus and was in turn savaged by Achilles. Each man's grief must confront the other's for surcease and resolution: a resolution more compelling to both than the demands of war. For when the wizened father and the vicious murderer of his son meet, "the past and present blend, enemies exchange places, hatred turns to understanding, youth pities age mourning youth."* 
Ransom is a tour de force, incandescent in its delicate and powerful lyricism and its unstated imperative that we imagine our lives in the glow of fellow feeling.
*Quote from Alberto Manguel's review in The Australian. Please see Reviews.
Publisher: New York : Pantheon Books, c2009.
ISBN: 9780307378774
Characteristics: 224 p. ; 20 cm.


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Mar 20, 2018

This is easily one of my favourite books, ever. Malouf's re-telling of one of the most poignant points of the Iliad was realistic and thoughtful.

Apr 21, 2015

This book was just not my cup of tea. This retelling or re-imagining of such a small portion of the story of Troy, no matter how elegantly written, was just not enough of a narrative for me.

librarymovieguy Aug 14, 2013

Instead of tackling the entire Trojan War, Malouf focuses on a single episode, namely Achilles' refusal to surrender the body of Hector. It's a gem.

forbesrachel Apr 10, 2013

The warrior Achilles reflects on the path that has led him to the Trojan war, this is a very different approach to a character who was most characterized by pride, battle prowess and rage. Instead he is grief stricken figure, and trapped by his anger, wishes for a way to end it; this is a person whom readers can sympathize with, and whom Priam comes to plead with. Priam too has been given great depth, for it is not as a king that he acts but for himself. He too looks inward for he considers what it is to be royalty, and what it is to be an ordinary man. Both characters have been given new depths which make this a neat addition to the Trojan tale. Also, the author has clearly done his research on ancient Greece

Aug 21, 2012

An expansion on part of the Trojan War story about how Hector's father, the king of Troy, negotiates with Achilles for the return of his son's body. For a brief moment the carnage of the war in interrupted by a father-to-father exchange. While not much happens, it is a beautifully told story.

Aug 15, 2012

This is a short lyrical novel by an award-winning Australian author about the Trojan war and a face to face meeting between Priam, king of Troy, and Achilles, Greek champion and killer of Hector, Priam's son. Malouf's attention to small details humanizes and makes real a story from another time and culture.


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