The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

 

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

" In this book, Barker tells the story of The Iliad from the perspective of Briseis, the woman that Achilles and Agamemnon fight over for the bulk of that epic.  It begins with her city being sacked by the Greeks, and continues to detail the life she leads as a 'prize' in the war camps.  Barker tells a brutal story here, about the lack of agency women have had throughout human history, and also manages to comment on how war and grief make all people powerless, no matter how powerful they might seem.  Tightly written and briskly told, this one with stick to your guts. "  - Recommended by Wayne
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The Silence of the Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385544214
Availability: Backordered
Published: Doubleday - September 4th, 2018

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.