The Silence of the Girls

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

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By Pat Barker

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There was a woman at the heart of the Trojan war whose voice has been silent – till now.

Briseis was a queen until her city was destroyed. Now she is slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her husband and brothers. Trapped in a world defined by men, can she survive to become the author of her own story?

Discover the greatest Greek myth of all – retold by the witness history forgot.

‘Make[s] you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma… You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers’ Evening Standard

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28 Oct 2018


I found this retelling of The Iliad a little disappointing. It's a good story (Barker hasn't changed the plot just the perspective) but it trips along a little too easily. Maybe that's down to my expectations of what a feminist take on The Iliad would look like combined with my high regard for Barker's writing of the Regeneration trilogy. We hear about the rape and subjugation of the girls and women taken as war prizes; harrowing subject matter, yet not a harrowing book despite being (mostly) narrated by one of the women. It left me feeling somehow shortchanged.

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