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The Silence of the Girls

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen womanHelen. In the Greek camp, another womanBriseiswatches and waits for the war's outcome. She was queen of one of Troy's neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece's greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles's concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army. When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position, able to observe the two men driving the G...

Title : The Silence of the Girls
Author :
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ISBN : 9780385544214
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 291 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Silence of the Girls Reviews

  • Rachel

    It's so hard to divorce my love of the Iliad from my experience reading The Silence of the Girls, but I think that's partially what makes this such a fantastic retelling. Told primarily from the perspective of Briseis, a Trojan captive given to Achilles as a war prize, Pat Barker's novel endeavors to tell the unsung story of the female characters who litter the background of the Ancient Greek epic. And she does a pretty brilliant job.

    The pleasure I derive from reading retellings, and especially
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  • Paula Bardell-Hedley

    “How was it possible for these high walls that had protected us all our lives to fall?”
    Having come straight from reading The Beekeeper of Sinjar, a collection of harrowing first-hand accounts of women taken captive by Daesh, to The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker's reimagining of the legendary Trojan War from a female perspective, it was disconcertingly effortless to step from 21st century Iraq to 13th century BCE Greece. So little, it seems, has altered in parts of the world during the inter ...more

  • Janna

    Silence of the Girls is a retelling of one of literature’s greatest tales-Achilles and the fall of Troy. Predominantly told through the eyes of minor Trojan queen Briseis, it shows the forgotten, but essential, figures in the background: the female slaves in the Greek army camp. Author Pat Barker drops you into the brutal, horrific world of the women taken captive during the 10 year Trojan War

    I’m conflicted on how to rate this book. The first third was very engaging as you see how harsh life was
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  • Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)



    Originally posted on A Frolic Through Fiction

    The ancient stories are always male dominated, with women’s voices being pushed aside in favour of those “heroes” instead. Although let’s be real, my idea of what defines a hero definitely isn’t the type you find in many Greek myths. So imagine my excitement when finding out this book exists, giving another perspective – the women’s perspective – of the stories I’d read and loved before. Combining Homer’s The Iliad and The Trojan Women by Euripides, m
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  • Joseph

    The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker is a retelling of the Illiad through the eyes of Briseis. Barker was born in Thornaby-on-Tees in 1943. She was educated at the London School of Economics and has been a teacher of history and politics. She is the author of several historical fiction novels.

    Briseis was the mythical queen of Lyrnessus in Asian Minon at the time of the Trojan War. She finds herself trapped in the city walls as the Greeks lay siege to the city. She watches as Achilles kills her
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  • Tatiana

    30%, I am calling it quits

    I guess what I don't understand is why, if you choose to rewrite The Iliad from the perspective of women, all these women do is talk about men, observe these said men, and that's it? Literally, 2 pages are given to Briseis's pre-capture past. The rest, so far at least, is her watching men do things, mostly disgusting things, and being abused, with an occasional break for an entirely too modern for the story feminist lecture. Why no time is spent on women nurturing relat
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  • Jo (An Unexpected Book Hoarder)

    I was greatly excited to get my hands on a beautiful, hardback copy of this particular book. The cover art is just stunning, and really does look amazing in my bookcase. When I realised that this book was potentially a retelling of "The Iliad" but told from an entirely different perspective, I was intrigued. When I discovered it was going to be told from the perspective of Breseis, that was enough to make me purchase the book.

    The story Barker tells in this book, is essentially one of rape and sl
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  • Puck

    "I was a slave, and a slave will do anything, anything at all, to stop being a thing and become a person again."

    This book was not what I hoped it would be. After reading Circe this summer and falling in love with it, I couldn’t wait to read more historic novels about Greek Mythology.

    Yet where this story promised to be a retelling of the Iliad from the perspective of the girls (multiple!), I only get one girl. For a while.

    The beginning and the first volume are very strong. Queen Briseis and

    “Because, make no mistake, this was his story-his anger, his grief, his story. I was angry, I was grieving, but somehow that didn’t matter.

    Here I was [...] still trapped, still stuck inside his story, and yet with no real part to play.”


    Because the lack of female voices wasn’t the worst. The worst was when Volume II started, suddenly Achilles himself takes over the story. Briseis is reduced to a silent witness, the (known) role she plays in the Agamemnon-Achilles conflict; Achilles often doesn’t even recalls her name.

    What the Hades: I don’t care about the story of Achilles! I don’t care about his fight with Agamemnon, his relationship with Patroclus (which stays annoyingly obscure), his weird mother-issues: this all is told in the Iliad itself!

    Yet that’s what this book becomes after the first 1/3 is done: a non-refreshing recount of the Trojan War, mentioning all the known events (the Fall of Troy, the ending of Achilles and Patroclus), leaving Briseis and the other women as a footnote in the grand tale.

    So in a way, the title of this book is fitting: the girls indeed stay silent. What a waste of potential. ...more