The Silence of the Girls: A Novel

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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One of Vanity Fair's Best Fall Books of 2018 "An important, powerful, memorable book that invites us to look differently not only at The Iliad but at our own ways of telling stories about the past and the present." --Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey 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

An Oprah’s Book Club Selection

A Vanity Fair Magazine Pick for Fall

A Washington Post Pick of 3 Great New Audiobooks

Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

A BookPage Top Pick for September

One of Vanity Fair's Best Fall Books of 2018

"An important, powerful, memorable book that invites us to look differently not only at The Iliad but at our own ways of telling stories about the past and the present."
--Emily Wilson, translator of The Odyssey

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

“[An] extraordinary collaboration between the Booker Prize-winning novelist Pat Barker and superb narrators Kristin Atherton and Michael Fox…Once begun, you will want to abandon everything to spend time with Fox’s ‘Great’ Achilles and Atherton’s Briseis, a Trojan queen become his bed-slave…Atherton, who carries most of the narrative, offers imaginative, vivid characterizations and narrates in a fervent, crisp, fierce voice as Briseis balances the demands of men and gods with the needs and terrors of captured women. Fox’s chapters in Achilles’ educated, vehement voice are a perfect counterpoint. This is a must-listen. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.” AudioFile
Beautifully done. NPR
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. The Economist
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. Washington Post
Wryly observant and wholly cognizant... Barker's retelling of some of the most famous events of The Iliad feels strangely relevant to today—displaced peoples, war refugees, abandoned women and children, sexual violence—and assures us that women's voices will be silent no longer. BookPage  
"A very good, very raw rendition of the Trojan War from the point of view of the women. New York Times Book Review
Brilliant, beautifully written... Both lyrical and brutal, Barker's novel is not to savor delicately. Library Journal, starred review 
In The Silence of the Girls, [Barker] now gives a voice to the voiceless…a book that will be read in generations to come. Daily Telegraph
An impressive feat of literary revisionism that should be on the Man Booker longlist…In seeing a legend differently, Barker also makes us re-think history. Independent
In graceful prose, Man Booker Prize winner Barker, renowned for her historical fiction trilogies, offers a compelling take on the events of The Iliad, allowing Briseis a first-person perspective. Briseis is flawlessly drawn as Barker wisely avoids the pitfall so many authors stumble into headlong, namely, giving her an anachronistic modern feminist viewpoint. The army camp, the warrior mindset, the horrors of battle, the silence of the girls—Barker makes it all convincing and very powerful. Recommended on the highest order. Booklist
This book weaves strands from across Barker’s work, foregrounding female experience on a vividly evoked battleground. Sunday Times
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
There’s a bluntness to Barker’s prose that feels appropriate to this tale of women’s fates during wartime. But if it insists on the importance of bearing witness, it’s also about choosing life. Mail on Sunday
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… Barker puts a searing twist on The Iliad to show us what the worst fate can be. 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  
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