Author Archives: Jeffrey Carter

About Jeffrey Carter

University administrator, voice teacher, choral director, professor, singer, professional theatre music director, brother, son, uncle, Anglican, Scotch drinker, chef of moderate talent, NPR fanatic, gin aficionado, proponent of the music of Herbert Howells and Elgar and Vaughan Williams, pianist, composer, theatre geek, dog love & cat hater, author & blogger, world traveler, church organist, Anglophile.

The Song of Achilles

On Facebook a few days ago, a former student, posting about a book: “It’s been a while since a book made me cry so hard.”

In the mood for a good novel to read whilst on sabbatical, I asked the Webster library to find the book for me.

And so it was that on Friday I began reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.

From the Daily Mail: “Extraordinary. . . . Beautifully descriptive and heartachingly lyrical, this is a love story as sensitive and intuitive as any you will find.”

The prose is clean, spare, achingly beautiful, if not a trifle over-written at times.  Some of the sentences left me breathless.  This is tour-de-force writing, and an astounding first novel.

I wrote Yufei tonight, saying “I knew the legend before the I started reading.  I knew the ending.  And yet when the inevitable came, and the voice changed and stilled, I found myself weeping.”  The novel’s last two pages were gut-crunching in their ache and their beauty.

I agree with Christian: it’s been a long time since a book made me cry this hard.  I had an ugly cry Sunday evening as I put the book down, my breath heaving in sorrow . . . my heart wishing the story to be true . . . my soul longing to talk to the man who makes it complete, but who is in China right now.  Patroclus’ gentle, persistent loneliness spoke deeply to me in that moment.



He’s away

This man is off to China today for a two-week holiday.

We have talked on FaceTime most every day for the last six months. That nightly call is now a staple of my day . . . of my life . . . as we learn to love even though separated by part of a continent.

He’ll be back soon, but I’m going to miss those nightly calls, and the easy access by text.  Life isn’t going to be the same for the next couple of weeks.