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Summary

Shortlisted for the Costa Best Novel Award 2018

Shortlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019

Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker, read by Kristin Atherton and Michael Fox.  

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.

The great city of Troy is under siege as Greek heroes Achilles and Agamemnon wage bloody war over a stolen woman. In the Greek camp, another woman is watching and waiting: Briseis. She was a queen of this land until Achilles sacked her city and murdered her husband and sons. Now she is Achilles' concubine: a prize of battle.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women backstage in this war - the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead - all of them voiceless in history. But, though no one knows it yet, they are just 10 weeks away from the death of Achilles and the fall of Troy, an end to this long and bitter conflict. Briseis will see it all - and she will bear witness.

©2018 Pat Barker (P)2018 Penguin Books Ltd

What listeners say about The Silence of the Girls

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    4 out of 5 stars

Audible Please replace the male narrator 😐

Engaging, immersive and beautifully read by the female narrator. Five stars for her, I was really enjoying this book, that is, until the male narrator appears and phones in his performance - I’m not sure he’s aware of the function of punctuation. Delivered in a shouty monotone the story becomes difficult to engage with as you attempt to disentangle and make sense of the dialogue, it feels like i spent the time translating my first language into something intelligible, rather than experiencing the flow of the story.
Please audible, re-release this book with a narrator who knows how to read?
Thanks.

18 people found this helpful

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A feminist Iliad

A retelling of the classic poem from a womans perspective, Pat Barker redresses the lack of female voices in the story. Clear, beautifully written prose. All the anger and the pathos shines through. It reflects the Auden poem, The Shield of Achilles, all the brutality of the war behind the glory.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Ms
  • 02-03-19

Soft Porn in a Trojan Horse?

Disappointingly constructed story that teeters into weird soft porn. Reviewers talk of this book as though it provide a woman’s retelling of an alternative ‘his-story’, yet it falls into cliche after cliche, of women succumbing to powerful men, women being pigeonholed by their physicality and the only ‘brave’ woman seem to be dead ones! If you are interested in reflecting on the anatomy of conflict and the maladjusting effect is has on men and women from a woman’s perspective then reach for The Milkman by Anna Burns, a much more rewarding and resonant investment of your time.

27 people found this helpful

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Passable

Came highly recommended to me and as a historical fiction fan that had never read anything on ancient greece, thought I'd give it a go.
After the initial activity in the first third of the book, I found it slow and was a struggle to finish
I liked the balance of both narrators

3 people found this helpful

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Great start, disappointing finish

I initially really enjoyed the story but found it lagging and repetitive towards the end. Frustrating characterisations (which I suppose is the point) a good concept but characters become winey and I likeable towards the end.
Narrator good but didn’t enjoy the big mix of accents. I get why it was done (to differentiate characters) but I don’t know if many scousers in ancient times...

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting but not great

This book stands on the merit of its unique perspective and is then average in every other respect.
Some good and interesting points are raised from a social and feminist stand point.
On a personal note: I found that characters served to be mouthpieces for the author's ideological agenda, this misrepresented them and led some to become whiny where they could have been empowering or, at least, more like real people.

14 people found this helpful

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Great retelling that feels original.

New angle on an old story. A controlled, emotional performance. As ever, Pat Barker delivers.

2 people found this helpful

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3000yrs

It's hard to fathom that this story is so often retold, made for tv or cinema. This version from a woman's perspective is so sad, the evil of men, still prevalent today as then, no thought by conqueror over vanquished, from queen to slave the abject misery caused in truth by one man's ambition, the deaths of thousands.
a remarkable written work I hope read by men like myself who will treat and respect their women ,for the thousands of yrs of injustice.

7 people found this helpful

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A look inside the legends from the female perspective.

I almost didn’t get this book because one of the previous reviews said it contained unnecessary soft porn. However, due to other reviews, I persevered and purchased anyway.
Trigger warning : This book contains Rape and Violence. In fact it open with the sacking of a city, where watching from the walls of the temple the protagonist watches a mother being gang raped as she calls out to her dying sons. It’s not pornographic, it’s horrific. And the way in which it is told in such a matter of fact tone makes it even more so.
Although there are more acts of sexual congress in the book, as the women are slaves, it is still non-consensual, right up until the end. Told from the perspective of a Queen, captured and taken as a prize, she is not subject to many of the degradations that ‘common’ women suffer from in the army camp, but she still bears witness to them. It’s the story of the taking of Troy by the Greeks, with Achilles in the supporting role. It’s definitely worth a read/listen.

1 person found this helpful

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Emotionally savage

The depth, the detail, the very graphic scenes playing out right in front of my eyes. A terrorising story of Achiles, the Warrior, the Murderer, the Man. A story so bone chilling from beginning to end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-09-21

Epic

What masterful storytelling - both from the author and narrator. I had chills! History told with such insight into the personal experience of real people - not just heroes.

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  • Not
  • 04-02-21

Beautiful story

loved it the story. Narrator was very good!!
Hercules is always a sad story that doesn't get old

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  • Sandy Topzand
  • 27-09-20

Brutally beautiful and eye-opening

Wonderful performances of a brutally beautiful and eye-opening story. I could not stop listening. Just wonderful writing.

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  • CJ
  • 27-01-20

A worthy listen!

A very worthy listen - told from the female perspective. Men make war and the women and children of the conquered suffer the consequences - brutal slavery, where you become a dehumanized THING and/or brutal death. This is very intense and disturbing, but well done.