It’s interesting subject matter. David Malouf focuses in on one of the most touching images-3moments in Homer’s The Iliad – the death of the hero Hector, and his father’s humble journey into enemy territory to beg his killer, the famed Achilles to ransom and return his body for a proper burial.

Malouf bases much of his action from The Iliad, but also takes liberties with the myth.  This  makes it a richer text, as he introduces more elements for readers to discuss and break down. He also makes it a more human story, by removing the emphasis from the interference from the Gods, and more on to the actions and decisions of the characters.

There is a subtlety to Malouf’s writing that many appreciate, although I find it distances me from the characters. This should be heart-rending, but is a step more cerebral than this.  A thinker rather than a feeler.  I can’t get lost in the narrative, although I can appreciate the craft.

Currently this is on the VCE English text list, and it would be a terrific text for students to write on.


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