The Silence of the Girls
A Guardian Best Book of the 21st Century
Shorlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Costa Novel Award and the Gordon Burn Prize
Booker-winning novelist Pat Barker imagines the untold story of the women at the heart of history’s greatest epic
‘Magnificent… You are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers’ Evening Standard
‘Chilling, powerful, audacious… A searing twist on The Iliad. Amid the recent slew of rewritings of the great Greek myths and classics, Barker’s stands out for its forcefulness of purpose and earthy compassion’ The Times
‘A stunning return to form’ Observer
When the Greek Queen Helen is kidnapped by Trojans, the Greeks sail in pursuit, besieging the city of Troy. Trapped in the Greek soldiers’ camp is another captured queen, Briseis. Condemned to be bed-slave to Achilles, the man who butchered her family, she becomes a pawn in a menacing game between bored and frustrated warriors. In the centuries after this most famous war, history will write her off, a footnote in a bloody story scripted by vengeful men – but Briseis has a very different tale to tell . . .
The magic of Barker's book is that the resonance of giving silenced women a voice at the centre of the story is just as relevant today * Grazia * The most important novel based on The Iliad so far this century * Edith Hall * Giving voice to the voiceless, this is a gripping feat of imagination that succeeds in being relevant today * Woman and Home * An impressive feat of literary revisionism that should be on the Man Booker longlist... This is a story about the very real cost of wars waged by men... Barker makes us re-think history * Independent * She gives a voice to the voiceless...The Silence of the Girls is a book that will be read in generations to come * Daily Telegraph * 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, and at how anger and hatred play out in our societies * Guardian * An assured triumph * Sunday Times * 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 are in the hands of a writer at the height of her powers * Evening Standard * Angry, thoughtful, sad, deeply humane and compulsively readable, The Silence of the Girls shows that 36 years after her first novel was published, Barker is a writer at the peak of her powers * Irish Times * A stunning return to form * Observer * A searing twist on The Iliad... Amid the recent slew of rewritings of the great Greek myths and classics, Barker's stands out for its forcefulness of purpose and earthy compassion... Chilling, powerful, audacious * The Times *
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