Monday 19 November 2018

#BookReview The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker @PenguinUKBooks

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues 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 coolly 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.


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!

1 comment:

  1. Wow this sounds awesome and I love anything to do with mythology