Wednesday 23 May 2018

Book Review: The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

Title: The Silence of the Girls
Pat Barker


Publication Date: 30 August 2018
eBook - PDF
Historical Fiction
ARC via NetGalley


From the Booker Prize-winning author of Regeneration and one of our greatest contemporary writers on war comes a reimagining of the most famous conflict in literature - the legendary Trojan War.

When her city falls to the Greeks, Briseis's old life is shattered. She is transformed from queen to captive, from free woman to slave, awarded to the god-like warrior Achilles as a prize of war. And she's not alone. On the same day, and on many others in the course of a long and bitter war, innumerable women have been wrested from their homes and flung to the fighters.

The Trojan War is known as a man's story: a quarrel between men over a woman, stolen from her home and spirited across the sea. But what of the other women in this story, silenced by history? What words did they speak when alone with each other, in the laundry, at the loom, when laying out the dead?

In this magnificent historical novel, Pat Barker charts one woman's journey through the chaos of the most famous war in history, as she struggles to free herself and to become the author of her own story.

The Silence of the Girls continues the current trend for Greek myth retold from a female perspective. This time, we follow Briseis as she becomes Achille's slave and witnesses the end of the Trojan War. In this book, we see Achilles in a very different light from usual, with the narrative split between him and Briseis. Overall, I loved the characterisation, and Barker's careful pacing kept me always eager to turn to the next page, to see what would happen next. It prose was easy reading but never dull, and in conclusion, I would definitely recommend it for those who love myth retellings and historical fiction, and I am giving it 4.5 stars.

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