The Silence of the Girls: A Novel
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2018
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Description
A Washington Post Notable Book One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Economist, Financial Times Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award Finalist for the Women's Prize for FictionHere is the story of the Iliad as we've never heard it before: in the words of Briseis, Trojan queen and captive of Achilles. Given only a few words in Homer's epic and largely erased by history, she is nonetheless a pivotal figure in the Trojan War. In these pages she comes fully to life: wry, watchful, forging connections among her fellow female prisoners even as she is caught between Greece's two most powerful warriors. Her story pulls back the veil on the thousands of women who lived behind the scenes of the Greek army camp—concubines, nurses, prostitutes, the women who lay out the dead—as gods and mortals spar, and as a legendary war hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion. Brilliantly written, filled with moments of terror and beauty, The Silence of the Girls gives voice to an extraordinary woman—and makes an ancient story new again.
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Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
09/04/2018
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780385544221
ASIN:
B078VWKKNB
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Date Added:
Aug 30, 2018 16:34:05
Date Updated:
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      • fileAs: Barker, Pat
      • bioText: Pat Barker is the author of Union Street, Blow Your House Down, Liza's England, The Man Who Wasn't There, the Regeneration trilogy (Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road, which won the Booker Prize), Another World, Border Crossing, Double Vision, and the Life Class trilogy (Life Class, Toby's Room, and Noonday). She lives in Durham, England.
      • name: Pat Barker
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Anchor
publishDate
2018-09-04T00:00:00-04:00
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title
The Silence of the Girls
fullDescription
A Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Economist, Financial Times

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award
Finalist for the Women's Prize for Fiction
Here is the story of the Iliad as we've never heard it before: in the words of Briseis, Trojan queen and captive of Achilles. Given only a few words in Homer's epic and largely erased by history, she is nonetheless a pivotal figure in the Trojan War. In these pages she comes fully to life: wry, watchful, forging connections among her fellow female prisoners even as she is caught between Greece's two most powerful warriors. Her story pulls back the veil on the thousands of women who lived behind the scenes of the Greek army camp—concubines, nurses, prostitutes, the women who lay out the dead—as gods and mortals spar, and as a legendary war hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion. Brilliantly written, filled with moments of terror and beauty, The Silence of the Girls gives voice to an extraordinary woman—and makes an ancient story new again.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: The Economist
      • content: "Almost Homeric in its brilliance... Refreshingly modern... Ms Barker [switches] nimbly between the daily drudgery of the camp and the horrors of conflict... Venerable scenes and mythic names magically become new... Domestic details are piercingly described, bringing the squalor of the camp to life... A masterful and moving novel."
      • premium: False
      • source: Annalissa Quinn, NPR
      • content: "Beautifully done."
      • premium: False
      • source: Bethanne Patrick, Washington Post
      • content: "Well-written as anything Barker has done before...The Silence of the Girls is a novel that allows those who were dismissed as girls--the women trapped in a celebrated historical war--to speak, to be heard, to bear witness. In doing so, Barker has once again written something surprising and eloquent that speaks to our times while describing those long gone."
      • premium: False
      • source: Kate Atkinson, New York Times Book Review
      • content: "A very good, very raw rendition of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women."
      • premium: False
      • source: Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey
      • content: "Brilliant, beautifully written... Both lyrical and brutal, Barker's novel is not to savor delicately."
      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 15, 2018

        Booker Prize-winning Barker, who set her celebrated "Regeneration" trilogy during World War I, here reaches back in time to the Trojan War, when women served mainly as slaves or prostitutes or laid out the dead. At the heart of the narrative is not the battle between Greeks and Trojans but between Achilles and Agamemnon over Briseis, once queen of a kingdom neighboring Troy and now Achilles's concubine after he murdered her husband and brothers.

        Copyright 2018 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        July 9, 2018
        Barker, author of the Booker-winning The Ghost Road, speculates about the fate of the women taken captive during the Trojan War, as related in Homer’s Iliad. Briseis, queen of the small country of Lyrnessus, was captured by the Greek forces and awarded to Achilles, fated to serve him as slave and concubine. Through her eyes readers see the horror of war: the sea of blood and corpses, the looting, and the drunken aftermath of battle. When Agamemnon demands that Briseis be handed over to him, Achilles reacts with rage and refuses to fight, and when his foster brother and lover Patrocles is killed, having gone into battle in Achilles’s stead, Briseis becomes the unwitting catalyst of a turning point in the war. In Barker’s hands, the conflict takes on a new dimension, with revisionist portraits of Achilles (“we called him the butcher”) and Patroclus (he had “taken his mother’s place” in Achilles’s heart). Despite its strong narrative line and transportive scenes of ancient life, however, this novel lacks the lyrical cadences and magical intensity of Madeline Miller’s Circe, another recent revising of Greek mythology. The use of British contemporary slang in the dialogue is jarring, and detracts from the story’s intensity. Yet this remains a suspenseful and moving illumination of women’s fates in wartime.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        July 15, 2018
        An accomplished hand at historical fiction respins the final weeks of the Trojan War.For her 14th novel, Booker Prize-winning Barker plucks her direction from the first line of the Iliad: "Divine Muse, sing of the ruinous wrath of Achilles...." The archetypal Greek warrior's battle cries ring throughout these pages, beginning on the first. The novel opens as Achilles and his soldiers sack Lyrnessus, closing in on the women and children hiding in the citadel. Narrating their terrifying approach is Briseis, the local queen who sees her husband and brothers slaughtered below. She makes a fateful choice not to follow her cousin over the parapet to her death. She becomes instead Achilles' war trophy. Briseis calls herself "a disappointment...a skinny little thing, all hair and eyes and scarcely a curve in sight." But in the Greek military encampment on the outskirts of Troy, she stirs much lust, including in the commander Agamemnon. So far, so faithful to Homer. Barker's innovation rests in the female perspective, something she wove masterfully into her Regeneration and Life Class trilogies about World War I. Here she gives Briseis a wry voice and a watchful nature; she likens herself as a mouse to Achilles' hawk. Even as the men boast and drink and fight their way toward immortality, the camp women live outwardly by Barker's title. Their lives depend on knowing their place: "Men carve meaning into women's faces; messages addressed to other men." Barker writes 47 brisk chapters of smooth sentences; her dialogue, as usual, hums with intelligence. But unlike her World War I novels, the verisimilitude quickly thins. Her knowledge of antiquity is not nearly as assured as Madeline Miller's in The Song of Achilles and Circe. Barker's prose is awkwardly thick with Briticisms--breasts are "wrinkled dugs" or "knockers." And she mistakenly gives the Greeks a military field hospital, which was an innovation of the Romans.A depiction of Achilles' endless grief for Patroclus becomes itself nearly endless.

        COPYRIGHT(2018) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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shortDescription
A Washington Post Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: NPR, The Economist, Financial Times

Shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award
Finalist for the Women's Prize for Fiction
Here is the story of the Iliad as we've never heard it before: in the words of Briseis, Trojan queen and captive of Achilles. Given only a few words in Homer's epic and largely erased by history, she is nonetheless a pivotal figure in the Trojan War. In these pages she comes fully to life: wry, watchful, forging connections among her fellow female prisoners even as she is caught between Greece's two most powerful warriors. Her story pulls back the veil on the thousands of women who lived behind the scenes of the Greek army camp—concubines, nurses, prostitutes, the women who lay out the dead—as gods and mortals spar, and as a legendary war hurtles toward its inevitable conclusion. Brilliantly written, filled with moments of terror and beauty,...
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publisher
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group