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The Silence of the Girls

Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (182 ratings)
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Summary

Shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award 2018

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, read by Kristin Atherton and Michael Fox.  

From the Booker Prize-winning author of Regeneration and one of our greatest contemporary writers on war comes a reimagining of the most famous conflict in literature - the legendary Trojan War.

The great city of Troy is under siege as Greek heroes Achilles and Agamemnon wage bloody war over a stolen woman. In the Greek camp, another woman is watching and waiting: Briseis. She was a queen of this land until Achilles sacked her city and murdered her husband and sons. Now she is Achilles' concubine: a prize of battle.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women backstage in this war - the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead - all of them voiceless in history. But, though no one knows it yet, they are just 10 weeks away from the death of Achilles and the fall of Troy, an end to this long and bitter conflict. Briseis will see it all - and she will bear witness.

©2018 Pat Barker (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A feminist Iliad

A retelling of the classic poem from a womans perspective, Pat Barker redresses the lack of female voices in the story. Clear, beautifully written prose. All the anger and the pathos shines through. It reflects the Auden poem, The Shield of Achilles, all the brutality of the war behind the glory.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Interesting but not great

This book stands on the merit of its unique perspective and is then average in every other respect.
Some good and interesting points are raised from a social and feminist stand point.
On a personal note: I found that characters served to be mouthpieces for the author's ideological agenda, this misrepresented them and led some to become whiny where they could have been empowering or, at least, more like real people.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Great retelling that feels original.

New angle on an old story. A controlled, emotional performance. As ever, Pat Barker delivers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Heartbreaking

Beautifully read tale of unheard voices. It is always interesting to lift the veil on the legends of men to discover the great and powerful women distorted to the point of obscurity from the annuals of history and legend. If you like Mists of Avalon you'll like this too...

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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3000yrs

It's hard to fathom that this story is so often retold, made for tv or cinema. This version from a woman's perspective is so sad, the evil of men, still prevalent today as then, no thought by conqueror over vanquished, from queen to slave the abject misery caused in truth by one man's ambition, the deaths of thousands.
a remarkable written work I hope read by men like myself who will treat and respect their women ,for the thousands of yrs of injustice.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Emotionally savage

The depth, the detail, the very graphic scenes playing out right in front of my eyes. A terrorising story of Achiles, the Warrior, the Murderer, the Man. A story so bone chilling from beginning to end.

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A phenomenal testament to the human spirit.

Extraordinary on every level. The reader lives the story with every beautifully written word. Loved it.

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As good as I'd hoped it would be

Although quite brutal, this was a fantastic retelling of the fall of Troy from a female point of view. Harrowing at tines, the descriptions and narration was unbelievably perfect and made it come to life. Thoroughly recommended.

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Wonderful take on the myth

I really loved this book. I loved the view of somebody erased from history on a mythical story. I really liked the narrators and the different views of the same events and it managed to bring the myth to life, without idealization and with a sense of truth.

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  • JPR
  • UK, ex- Africa
  • 02-11-18

Enjoyable

I quite enjoyed this and liked the idea of ancient history/story from a female standpoint. Briseis is the main character and features in the Iliad, on which this story is based. i.e. the 10 year war between the Trojans and Greek states. Women were traditionally wives,mothers and could be spoils of war and had no control over their lives, as we see in this book. However I found the characters all rather 2 dimensional until the end when more emotions and motivations were in evidence. I did enjoy it though in spite of that.