The Silence of the Girls

By Pat Barker
Read by Kristin Atherton  and Michael Fox

10.75 Hours 09/04/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (In Stock)
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    ISBN: 9780525643265

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From the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy comes a monumental new masterpiece, set in the midst of literature’s most famous war. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War. 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.

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Summary

Summary

A BookPage Top Pick for September

From the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy comes a monumental new masterpiece, set in the midst of literature’s most famous war. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War.

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.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“[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.” Washington Post
This book weaves strands from across Barker’s work, foregrounding female experience on a vividly evoked battleground. Sunday Times
“Barker takes on the Iliad through the perspective of a queen who was captured by Achilles. It’s an unflinching take on the sacrifices demanded by love.” BookPage  
An impressive feat of literary revisionism that should be on the Man Booker longlist…Why isn’t Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls on this year’s Man Booker longlist? There are always going to be contentious omissions, I know, but Barker’s not only a veteran—she won in 1995 for The Ghost Road, the final volume of her magnificent First World War-set Regeneration trilogy—this latest work is an impressive feat of literary revisionism that reminds us that there are as many ways to tell a story as there are people involved…this is a story about the very real cost of wars waged by men: ‘the brutal reality of conquest and slavery.’ In seeing a legend differently, Barker also makes us re-think history. The Independent  
In The Silence of the Girls, [Barker] now gives a voice to the voiceless…It is not generally known that the omission of Pat Barker’s Regeneration from the 1991 Booker shortlist by the all-male panel of judges was the trigger for the foundation of the Orange (now Women’s) Prize. Barker’s omission from this year’s Booker longlist is a decision equally lamentable, for The Silence of the Girls is a book that will be read in generations to come. Daily Telegraph
The Silence of the Girls is brilliant—fascinating, riveting and blood chilling in its matter-of-fact attitude toward war and those who are its spoils. I loved the book for its craftsmanship, as well is its wonderful evocation of the ancient world and the not-so-ancient minds of the people inhabiting it. Diana Gabaldon  
“Amid the recent slew of rewritings of the great Greek myths and classics Barker’s stands out for its force of purpose and earthy compassion.” The Times  
The arrival of The Silence of the Girls couldn't be more apropos... Barker has a knack for capturing the voices of women in everyday life. Publishers Weekly   
Its magnificent final section can’t help but make you reflect on the cultural underpinnings of misogyny, the women throughout history who have been told by men to forget their trauma... You feel you are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers, her only priority to enlarge the story. Evening Standard  
A lot of these re-imaginings fall flat, but Barker’s new novel, The Silence of the Girls, is superb.[…] It is as beautifully written as it is brutal in describing the blood-soaked horrors of war. It’s out next month and should have been put on the Man Booker longlist. Silly judges. Times
If this book doesn’t win all the awards – I mean all ALL of them – it will be a travesty. Quite the most incredible thing I’ve read this year and I’ve read a lot of great books. Classic storytelling, amazing characters And such a lot to say about then – and now. Circe was a wonderful feminist romp and I loved it, but The Silence of the Girls is something else all together. For me, this is Pat Barker’s Handmaid’s Tale moment. Sam Baker, author of The Woman Who Ran
Barker’s innovation rests on the female perspective… Here she gives Briseis a wry voice and watchful nature… [The Silence of the Girls] hums with intelligence. Kirkus Reviews   
An extraordinary novel... [and] the current debate about power and control in sexual relationships makes it a very timely one. If this doesn't make every serious literary prize shortlist, I'll be very surprised. Bookseller

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Pat Barker

Pat Barker is an English novelist who has won the Guardian Fiction Prize and the Booker Prize. In 2000 she was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Fiction/Historical
Runtime: 10.75
Audience: Adult
Language: English