Play Book Tag discussion

The Silence of the Girls (Women of Troy, #1)
This topic is about The Silence of the Girls
16 views
Archive: Other Books > The Silence of The Girls 3 1/2 stars-rounded to 4

Comments Showing 1-8 of 8 (8 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7249 comments This is going to be a tough review to write-I have not seen any other reviews, and I am pretty sure a few of you have this one your radar. If I blunder, and give something away, please tell me and I will correct-I try hard not to insert spoilers in my reviews.

Ok, first off, I enjoyed Circe so much that I put myself on the list at my library to get this book when it came in-I amazingly was #2-Thus I literally read them back to back. There lies the dilemma-I went into this expecting it to be along the same lines-Bad thinking on my part. If you read Circe and are going to read this, put Circe out of your mind.

This is the story of the 9th and 10th years of the Trojan War. The POV is from Queen Briseis, She was taken as Achilles "Prize" when her town Lyrnessus was sacked and destroyed by the Greeks. Taken to a camp on the outskirts of Troy she becomes the slave and bed mate of the man who killed her entire family.

The first 100 pages were very rough reading. as you are seeing through the eyes of an abused woman. The visual you are forced to see is extremely hard on the mind. After that point some of the POV comes from Patroclus and Achilles, and you see the brutality of war. You also see the mind-set of these men-They sit and talk about Briseis "being his (Achilles) prize", calling her "it" as she it forced to be in the room and listen. You feel her pain, you watch as her soul is ripped to shred. When Briseis is handed over to Agamemnon an inkling of Achilles having a heart starts to come through, for a minute, he misses her-but then he comes to his senses "No, she was just a prize, no more, no less. The pain I feel is merely humiliation." He feels his "prize" was stolen from him by a man who is inferior to him in every way. And so, like a child , he has a tantrum-
"Well, that's that. Let him try to take Troy without me!"

There is a good chunk of the story that deals with the lives of the women in the camp, other " prizes", who try to live with their circumstances the best way possible. Briseis cannot understand how these women accept their fate, bear children for these captors and love those children. "Stockholm Syndrome"? Maybe, more likely these women realize their past is gone, and in order to move on, with any semblance of sanity, they deal with it, plain and simple.

I had some problems with some of the writing. I am not a scholar, by any means, on mythology or Greek history-Would Patroclus really say
"Bugger Off" or Achilles "Good show, chaps"?-Maybe it's just me, but how did we get from ancient Greece, to mid-town London?

No doubt-Pat Barker is a gifted writer, however she can ramble on-paragraph after paragraph about the rats in the Greek camp-after 2 paragraphs it was obvious that these pests were going to bring sickness to the camp.

However, in most parts of the book the writing is flawless. Some will think it is too raw-but there was no other way to tell this story-had Barker sugared coated it, it would have been historical-fluff.

The rating I gave this book shows what a good writer can do to turn a reader around to their POV. The first section had me at a low 3, by the time I got to the end she had won me over.


KateNZ | 2214 comments Great review, Joanne! I don’t know if I want to try this one or not - I have always been a bit nuts about Trojan War stories (and going to Troy is totally top of my bucket list) but this sounds distressing. I also find Pat Barker’s writing a bit hard going. But the Briseis perspective is almost irresistible


message 3: by Joanne (last edited Dec 11, 2018 10:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7249 comments KateNZ wrote: "Great review, Joanne! I don’t know if I want to try this one or not - I have always been a bit nuts about Trojan War stories (and going to Troy is totally top of my bucket list) but this sounds dis..."

I am glad I made it sounds distressing-really-I went into this blind and it was a tough read I don't want anyone to go into without knowing how raw it was-but kudos to Barker are deserved-the ending made it all worth while


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7249 comments KateNZ wrote: "Great review, Joanne! I don’t know if I want to try this one or not - I have always been a bit nuts about Trojan War stories (and going to Troy is totally top of my bucket list) but this sounds dis..."

If you do read it-try to get a buddy read going-totally deserves conversation!


KateNZ | 2214 comments Well I have put it on the list. And I saw it in the bookshop yesterday so the result is nearly inevitable. I will come crying to you though when it makes me miserable ☺️

The first time I read the Iliad early in my teens, I remember the Briseis episode really hit me. Even at that stage, I was going ‘but what about her - she’s not just a thing’. It offended my nascent feminist sensibilities. Great that our writers are giving these women a voice


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7249 comments KateNZ wrote: "Well I have put it on the list. And I saw it in the bookshop yesterday so the result is nearly inevitable. I will come crying to you though when it makes me miserable ☺️

The first time I read the..."


I remember feeling angry about the woman in Iliad as well-lots of arguments with the chauvinist pigs in High School Lit. class.


Tracy (tstan) | 1182 comments Great review, Joanne!
I listened to this. Fortunately, it was a few months after Circe, so I had some separation. I like Barker’s writing, and I agree about the rambling. But I appreciated the rawness of the book, too. It wasn’t a fun read, but it was a good one.


Joanne (joabroda1) | 7249 comments Tracy wrote: "Great review, Joanne!
I listened to this. Fortunately, it was a few months after Circe, so I had some separation. I like Barker’s writing, and I agree about the rambling. But I appreciated the raw..."


Thank you Tracy-I have never read anything by her before, so I really did go into the book blind-I may shelf another of her's , what else of hers have you read that you might recommend?


back to top