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The Silence of the Girls

Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (491 ratings)

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Summary

Shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award 2018

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

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

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  • Ms
  • DUNDEE, United Kingdom
  • 02-03-19

Soft Porn in a Trojan Horse?

Disappointingly constructed story that teeters into weird soft porn. Reviewers talk of this book as though it provide a woman’s retelling of an alternative ‘his-story’, yet it falls into cliche after cliche, of women succumbing to powerful men, women being pigeonholed by their physicality and the only ‘brave’ woman seem to be dead ones! If you are interested in reflecting on the anatomy of conflict and the maladjusting effect is has on men and women from a woman’s perspective then reach for The Milkman by Anna Burns, a much more rewarding and resonant investment of your time.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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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.

12 of 14 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.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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Passable

Came highly recommended to me and as a historical fiction fan that had never read anything on ancient greece, thought I'd give it a go.
After the initial activity in the first third of the book, I found it slow and was a struggle to finish
I liked the balance of both narrators

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great start, disappointing finish

I initially really enjoyed the story but found it lagging and repetitive towards the end. Frustrating characterisations (which I suppose is the point) a good concept but characters become winey and I likeable towards the end.
Narrator good but didn’t enjoy the big mix of accents. I get why it was done (to differentiate characters) but I don’t know if many scousers in ancient times...

1 of 1 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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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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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a different take on Greek mythology

Easy read and interesting take on a well known theme. I found myself listening easily hour after hour.

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An original and modern take on an age old story.

This will go straight to my top audible listens list. Pat Barker tells the story of the Briseis wife of Mynes who is taken as the enslaved wife of Achilles. The focus on the women’s experiences and points of view is a new and beguiling one to me. Pat Barker is an extraordinary wordsmith and is somehow able to get so far inside the heads of her characters that the reader almost becomes them.

The narrators really do this story justice. So often I am put off by over-acting in book narrations but this is not the case here.

I thoroughly recommend this book.

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Wonderful heartbreaking story.

I’ve never heard a story like it, the realities of war but from the woman’s perspective. I cannot recommend this enough.