HomeGroupsTalkExplore
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The Silence of the Girls (2018)

by Pat Barker

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Women of Troy (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,915927,622 (3.97)1 / 309
"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 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 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 cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis's people, but also of the ancient world at large. Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war--the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead--all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis's perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker's latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives--and it is nothing short of magnificent"-- "The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War"--… (more)
  1. 00
    A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes (bjappleg8)
  2. 11
    Circe by Madeline Miller (avk88)
    avk88: Greek mythology retelling from female perspective
  3. 00
    Ransom by David Malouf (GCPLreader)
  4. 00
    Hand of Fire by Judith Starkston (Anonymous user)
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 309 mentions

English (90)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  All languages (92)
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
Closer to 4 stars but not quite there. Another retelling of Achilles and Patroclus during the Trojan War, but this time from the perspective of Briseis. Barker delves into camp life and what it was like for the women in the camps. Fascinating premise. ( )
  eringill | Dec 25, 2022 |
3.5 ⭐️

A lovely retelling of Briseis’ story! I wondered if other women in this story were going to tell us their story, but I think having just Briseis speak was a good call. Having Achilles and Patroclus give parts of their story was also a nice touch; their powerful personas contrasted nicely with Briseis’ critical mind. All in all, another great Trojan War retelling. I’m interested to see what Pat Barker has in store for us in the new sequel “The Women of Troy.” ( )
  EvelynNygren | Nov 17, 2022 |
“I thought: Suppose, suppose just once, once, all these centuries, the slippery gods keep their word and Achilles is granted eternal glory in return for his early death under the walls of Troy...? What will they make of us, the people of those unimaginably distant times? One thing I do know: they won't want the brutal reality of conquest and slavery. They won't want to be told about the massacres of men and boys, the enslavement of women and girls. They won't want to know we were living in a rape camp. No, they'll go for something altogether softer. A love story, perhaps? I just hope they manage to work out who the lovers were.”

Set in ancient Troy, this book retells The Iliad from the perspective of Briseis, the slave that caused a rift between Achilles and Agamemnon. Briseis does not start out as a slave. At first, she is a queen with a husband and a child, living in Lyrnessus, when Achilles and his warriors sack the city, kill the men, and capture the women. Briseis becomes Achilles’ war-prize and bed-slave.

The majority of the primary elements of The Iliad remain intact, though the gods remain in the background. The voice of Briseis as first-person narrator works for the most part, but as the story nears the climax, it shifts to third-person narration from Achilles’ perspective. This change in perspective is not quite as effective but does provide an account of the combat that Briseis would not have seen.

The writing is exceptional. Barker brings the Greek camp to life with intricate descriptions of sights, sounds, smells, and textures. The combat scenes are vividly drawn, not sparing the gory details. The characters are well-developed and complex. It offers a slightly more optimistic ending than Homer’s original. This is a story about the brutal impact of war, particularly on the women, whose voices are often lost to history.

If you have not read The Iliad, I suggest reading it first. I also think it might be interesting to read Madeline Miller’s The Song of Achilles, either shortly before or after reading this book. I read it not long ago and it provides another perspective on Achilles and the siege of Troy.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
WOW! I was really impressed by THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS. It's such a powerful story, brutal, haunting and so sad. I listened to the audio version and I have to admit that since this was the first book by Pat Barker that I've read so was I not expecting this experience. However, it didn't take me long to really get hooked and I was so sad for all the girls in this book. For how they are viewed as only spoilers of war. To be offered to the winners, while they watch how all the menfolk are being killed off.

It was especially nice to get Briseis story, and not Helen's who has been written so much about. I had no knowledge about Briseis before I read this book and just like Helen did men end up fighting for her. Achilles won her after a battle, but then after Agamemnon had to give up his prize did he demand Briseis from Achilles. And that ladies and gentlemen seriously pissed off Achilles. And then everything went downhill from that point, at least for Achilles. For Briseis has it been hard for a long time. No saying in whom to marry, and being forced to share the bed of the man that then killed your husband. Well, being a woman back then (or even now) is hard.

I definitely recommend reading (or listening to this) book! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
WOW! I was really impressed by THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS. It's such a powerful story, brutal, haunting and so sad. I listened to the audio version and I have to admit that since this was the first book by Pat Barker that I've read so was I not expecting this experience. However, it didn't take me long to really get hooked and I was so sad for all the girls in this book. For how they are viewed as only spoilers of war. To be offered to the winners, while they watch how all the menfolk are being killed off.

It was especially nice to get Briseis story, and not Helen's who has been written so much about. I had no knowledge about Briseis before I read this book and just like Helen did men end up fighting for her. Achilles won her after a battle, but then after Agamemnon had to give up his prize did he demand Briseis from Achilles. And that ladies and gentlemen seriously pissed off Achilles. And then everything went downhill from that point, at least for Achilles. For Briseis has it been hard for a long time. No saying in whom to marry, and being forced to share the bed of the man that then killed your husband. Well, being a woman back then (or even now) is hard.

I definitely recommend reading (or listening to this) book! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jul 23, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 90 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Barker, Patprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arribas, Carlos JiménezTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Atherton, KristinNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bosch, EefjeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bury, LaurentTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
翁海贞Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fox, MichaelNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ganho, TâniaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Κανελλοπού… ΔέσποιναTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Jiménez Arribas, CarlosTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johansson, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Karsch, LauraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Novotná, KateřinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Odeh, AlaaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Palmieri, CarlaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
فرزام حبیبی‌ا, صفهانیTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Прокуров, Р.Н.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Belongs to Series

Was inspired by

You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Information from the Chinese, simplified Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
“You know how European literature begins?” he’d ask, after taking the roll at the first class meeting. “With a quarrel. All of European literature springs from a fight.” And then he picked up his copy of The Iliad and read to the class the opening lines. “ ‘Divine Muse, sing of the ruinous wrath of Achilles…Begin where they first quarrelled, Agamemnon, the King of men, and great Achilles.’ And what are they quarrelling about, these two violent, mighty souls? It’s as basic as a barroom brawl. They are quarrelling over a woman. A girl, really. A girl stolen from her father. A girl abducted in a war.”

—The Human Stain, Philip Roth”
Dedication
For my children, John and Anna; and, as always,

in loving memory of David
First words
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.”
Quotations
It was astonishing the way really quite intelligent women seemed to believe that if they carried their eyeliner beyond the outer corner of the lid and gave it a little upward flick, they'd have Helen's eyes. Or if they fastened their cinctures the same way she did hers, they'd have Helen's breasts. All this mindless imitation of a woman they affected to despise...No wonder she laughed at them.
Poor Mynes. His idea of female beauty was a woman so fat if you slapped her backside in the morning she'd still be jiggling when you got back home for dinner.
Yes, the death of young men in battle is a tragedy - I’d lost four brothers, I didn’t need anybody to tell me that. A tragedy worthy of any number of laments - but theirs is not the worst fate. I looked at Andromache, who’d have to live the rest of her amputated life as a slave, and I thought: We need a new song.
I thought: And I do what countless women before me have been forced to do. I spread my legs for the man who killed my husband and my brother
The defeated go down in history and disappear, and their stories die with them
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

"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 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 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 cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis's people, but also of the ancient world at large. Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war--the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead--all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis's perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker's latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives--and it is nothing short of magnificent"-- "The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War"--

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (3.97)
0.5
1 8
1.5
2 16
2.5 4
3 62
3.5 27
4 172
4.5 32
5 107

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 183,023,815 books! | Top bar: Always visible