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The Silence of the Girls

Pat Barker
2018, 291 p.

This book comprises a retelling of the Trojan War, this time from the point of view of a young woman. A Greek army led by Achilles attacks a small city, killing the men and abducting the women, including Briseis, the childless wife of the king. When the women are given to the leaders, Briseis is awarded to the nearly-invincible Achilles. Serving unveiled at Achilles' table, Briseis eventually realises why he wants her to be seen by his comrades. The following events - Achilles' refusal to join the fighting and the deaths of Patroclus, Hector and, finally, Achilles himself - lead to the fall of Troy and are told from the perspective of a woman's experience of war and its lack of glamour. This memorable book presents a different view on the way stories about the brutality of the war are usually told, both in the past and in the present. In The Iliad, Briseis plays a minor role, but in this book she tells her own story.


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