The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls

From the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy comes a monumental new masterpiece, set in the midst of literature's most famous war. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War.The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stole...

Details The Silence of the Girls

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

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...
  • 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...
  • Ana
    A book about Troy, Briseis, Achilles, Hector, Agamemnon, Patroclus and the rest of the gang. HOLD THE PHONE HOLD MY PURSE HOLD EVERYTHING.Patroclus, Imma let you finish but Briseis and Achilles are the greatest ship of all time. They are the superior sandwich and I will fight anyone. 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. Brillian...
  • 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 ...
  • 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. ‘...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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 ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • 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.
  • Crystal King
    I read this following both Emily Wilson's The Odyssey and Madeleine Miller's Circe so I'm in ancient Greek heaven. This is a small slice of the Odyssey story about Briseis, a queen that was a prize of war awarded to the great Achilles. It's a fascinating take on the tale, one that is as gritty as it is beautiful, a book that lacks any sugar-coating and is full of difficult relationships that seem true to the human spirit, both the good and bad. I...
  • Annette
    Based on Greek mythology, Homer’s Iliad, and set during the final weeks of the Trojan War, this book brings a story of Briseis. After Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, conquers Troy’s neighboring kingdom, he slaughters all men and captures all women; among them the queen Briseis. She becomes his concubine. At the camp set under the walls of Troy where all captured women stay, Briseis meets Patroclus, Achilles’ closest companion. Patroc...
  • Lucie
    tw // rape, violence, slaveryGive me all the Greek mythology/history reimaginings from women's points of view, please and thank you.
  • Scarlett
    One of the hardest 5-star ratings I've ever given! I enjoyed it immensely, I read it in every spare moment, it was so exciting, but... it's not really deserving of being among the best works. I think I will always crave historical fiction and retellings of great myths, especially since Madeline Miller is not giving me what I need. While Circe remains one of the best books I've read this year, this one came as a great consolation, although the qua...
  • switterbug (Betsey)
    Pat Barker has chosen an intriguing point-of-view to re-imagine THE ILIAD--that of Briseis, Achilles’ concubine. I’m not concerned with keeping the purity of Homer’s text, since Homer’s text, written subsequent to preceding oral traditions, demonstrates variants in characters and events—some minor, some potent. And, in the Western Canon, The Iliad has sparked many subsequent interpretations and re-imaginings. Some of the plot/themes of ...
  • 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...
  • 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...
  • Lindz
    In a lot of ways this was an easy novel to sink into. I writing is strong, and I am very comfortable with the story of Achilles. For something I was under the assumption (no idea how I got to this conclusion) that this was a book that would vear away from the Warriors of Troy and hang out in the background a little. But no Achilles and Patroclus' light is too strong for Barker not to go there. And I understand their relationship, no matter how yo...
  • Anna Eklund
    The women in Homer’s Iliad are hardly ever heard to speak. We are not privy to their thoughts, their feelings, their anguish, given to us in their own words. Until now. The Silence of the Girls bears moments of the Trojan War through the eyes of the female captives at the mercy of the men who have slaughtered their husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, as they carve out new lives for themselves in the wake devastation. The focus of Barker’s nove...
  • Evie Braithwaite
    I went into this story having never read either Homer's The Iliad or anything by Pat Barker. However, that didn't stop me from being instantly captivated by this retelling.The Silence of the Girls is told from the perspective of former queen Briseis who is captured and descends to become Achilles' prize of war. In grand epics, women have no opinion, they have no power, they have no voice. However, Barker fills this vacuum and offers readers a new...