The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

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 woman: Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war's outcome: Briseis. 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 ...

Details The Silence of the Girls

TitleThe Silence of the Girls
Release DateSep 4th, 2018
PublisherDoubleday Books
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy, Mythology, Retellings

Reviews The Silence of the Girls

  • Emily May
    "Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, godlike Achilles . . . How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher’." The Silence of the Girls is a retelling of Homer's The Iliad that brings in the stories of the women and girls who were, essentially, collateral damage in the Trojan War. Briseis is the narrator. When Lyrnessus falls to the Greeks, she becomes a war prize for Achilles bu...
  • Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
    I was a slave, and a slave will do anything, anything at all, to stop being a thing and become a person again. This is a really good historical novel. I didn't say historical romance because it is most definitely not one. If you're expecting a romance novel, you'd be dead wrong.It's a brutal tale. If you're triggered by rape, you should stay away from this book, but it is just a fact, it is not used as a plot device.The theme of this book is surv...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    All the stars to my new favorite read, The Silence of the Girls!Today I have a book that came highly recommended by my friend, Paula, at Book Jotter, and my Goodreads friend, Tammy. My Thoughts:The Silence of the Girls is referred to as a masterpiece in its synopsis. Yes, it is absolutely a stunning masterpiece.For over 10 years, the city of Troy has been under siege and in battle over Helen, a woman who can observe the war high atop a parapet wi...
  • Ana
    A book about Troy, Briseis, Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, Patroclus and the rest of the gang. TODAY WAS A GOOD DAY. Briseis and Achilles. I don't deserve this honor but I'll take it. I'm never getting off this cruise ship.Sorry, just channeling my inner 12-year-old.I was almost cured from my daily obsession and that book happened. This is all your fault, Val. Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, godlike Achilles…How the epithet...
  • Tammy
    Royal Briseis is presented to Achilles as a prize for sacking and destroying Lyrnessus a neighboring city of Troy. So this is a re-telling of the final few weeks of The Iliad’s Trojan War from the perspective of a “bed-slave”. While Briseis has it better than the abject slavery of many other female captives her life is, in its own way, just as brutal. The prose of Part One is bewitching but it falls apart for a few chapters within Part Two ...
  • 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...
  • Roman Clodia
    I've been trying to escape not just from the camp but from Achilles' story This is the best modern re-telling of the Iliad that I've read - even if it does perhaps extend too far, taking in the aftermath of war as told in Athenian tragedies: the Hekabe, and the Trojan Women especially. Told in a straightforward narrative, the majority in 1st person from Briseis with intermittent 3rd person chapters from the POV of Achilles, this is both accurate ...
  • 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 tel...
  • 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 t...
  • Paul Fulcher
    "'Silence becomes a woman.' Every woman I’ve ever known was brought up on that saying."Pat Barker's The Silence of the Girls is a retelling of the Iliad, the story of Achilles at the siege of Troy. The epigraph to Barker's novel is what she has said in the inspiration for this book, a passage from Philip Roth's The Human Stain:"‘You know how European literature begins?’ he’d ask, after having taken the roll at the first class meeting. ‘...
  • Ivy H
    Wow ! Talk about engendering Historical fiction ! But it's an engendering that underscores the hopeless plight in which these women found themselves. Women were, regardless of their status or wealth, for the most part:Pawns;Prizes;Property/chattelThis blew me away and I stayed up until the early hours of this morning reading it because it was "unputdownable". This isn't a happy story and if there's any real romance it's the epic bromance between ...
  • Donna
    **Warning—this review also contains minor spoilers for the book The Song of Achilles.**While reading The Song of Achilles a few months ago, I was intrigued by a supporting, though unforgettable character in that book named Briseis who tugged at my heartstrings throughout the story. In mythological tales about the Trojan War, she was princess of Lymessus, a Trojan city destroyed by the Greeks in an all out assault led by Achilles. When only 19, ...
  • 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 si...
  • Patty
    A retelling of the Trojan War from the perspective of Briseis (minor Trojan queen, taken as a war prize and given to Achilles as a slave, then claimed by Agamemnon), and given a radical, feminist spin by focusing on the silenced women and servants.This book should have been amazing. I mean, how do you look at that description and not want to immediately read it? Unfortunately, it's nothing but a disappointment. The prose is just... not good. It's...
  • Jessica Woodbury
    Telling the story of the Iliad through the eyes of Briseis is a really good idea, there's so much potential to present the familiar through a drastically different lens. As Barker (through Briseis) notes, there is a story of men and glory presented to the world, but the story that isn't told is one of rape and slavery. Ultimately, though, I didn't feel like The Silence of the Girls did enough to change the story. At the end of the day, this book ...
  • Neil
    In Homer’s Iliad, women do not speak very often, except maybe for the goddesses, and Briseis, the central character of Barker’s novel, has no words at all."'Silence becomes a woman.' Every woman I’ve ever known was brought up on that saying."Here Barker retells the story but from Briseis’ perspective, giving Briseis a voice but also allowing a view into the lives of other women in the story. What we get is a new view of a well-known story...
  • 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 seem...
  • 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 WarI’m conflicted on how to rate this book. The first...
  • Ashleigh (a frolic through fiction)
    Originally posted on A Frolic Through FictionThe 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 befo...
  • Liv (Stories For Coffee)
    ACTUAL RATING 4.5 STARSI am utterly breathless. This novel was so much more than I imagined it would be. Following the point of view of Briseis, this story tells the tale of the Trojan War from the eyes of a girl who is taken from her city and is claimed as Achilles' prize for conquering her homeland. This is what sets up the gruesome and raw tale of this explosive war that so many have read about but has never been shown through the eyes of a wo...
  • Sotiris Karaiskos
    All the well-known stories of Greek mythology have a common characteristic: they have been written by men and were addressed mainly to the male audience. I suppose, of course, that this can be said of today's author's approaches to these stories, but fortunately, there are many exceptions. Of course, I do not say "fortunately" to underestimate the male sex, or as a censure to the Ancient writers, just, as I see it, I think there is a different ap...
  • Sarah
    Guess we’ll go ahead and get the content warnings out of the way: (view spoiler)[Rape, PTSD, death of children, suicide, graphic violence (hide spoiler)]This is largely a re-telling of Homer’s Iliad. It takes place during the siege of nine year long siege of Troy. Briseis is wife to the King of Lyrnessus (I’ve probably spelled that wrong- apologies). We meet her just as the city is about to fall. She watches from the battlements as Achilles...
  • Trevor
    Retelling the stories and reframing the characters in ancient myths and tragedies is as old as literature itself. Indeed, many of the most famous versions of the myths and plays are not the urtext edition, but are re-tellings themselves, and some of our most famous pieces of modern literature — James Joyce’s Ulysses first and foremost in my mind — continue the trend.This hasn’t slowed down at all in the recent past as novelists, young and...
  • Emma
    Even if a female voice has been revealed here, it remains muted and as overpowered by Achilles' story as it ever was. Despite the title, only Briseis really gets a chance to tell her tale, and though she makes somewhat halfhearted an effort to include the experiences of other women, it is men who fill her story- her understanding of Achilles, his relationship/friendship/brotherhood/love story with Patroclus, his fight with Agamemnon, his relation...
  • Cathy
    In The Silence of the Girls, Pat Barker sets out to give voice to the women ‘silenced’ in previous versions of the story of the Trojan War.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure she entirely succeeds.  It all starts promisingly as the reader experiences the fall of Lyrnessus to the Greek army, commanded by Agamemnon, through the eyes of Briseis, wife of King Mynes.  The horror of the battle, the dreadful consequences of defeat for the female inh...
  • Sara
    Being a woman during the Trojan War sucked. It sucked big time.
  • Bettie☯
    NetgalleyDescription: From the Booker Prize-winning author of Regeneration and one of our greatest contemporary writers on war comes a re-imagining of the most famous conflict in literature - the legendary Trojan War. When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis's old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she's not alone. On the same day...