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The Resource The silence of the girls : a novel, Pat Barker

The silence of the girls : a novel, Pat Barker

Label
The silence of the girls : a novel
Title
The silence of the girls
Title remainder
a novel
Statement of responsibility
Pat Barker
Creator
Author
Subject
Genre
Language
eng
Summary
  • "From the Booker Prize-winning author of the Regeneration trilogy comes a monumental new masterpiece, set in the midst of literature's most famous war. Pat Barker turns her attention to the timeless legend of The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War. The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, who continue to wage bloody war over a stolen woman--Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman watches and waits for the war's outcome: Briseis. She was queen of one of Troy's neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece's greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles's concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army. When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and cooly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position to observe the two men driving the Greek forces in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate, not only of Briseis's people, but also of the ancient world at large. Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war--the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead--all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis's perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker's latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives--and it is nothing short of magnificent"--
  • "The Iliad, as experienced by the captured women living in the Greek camp in the final weeks of the Trojan War"--
Storyline
Tone
Writing style
Character
Review
  • /* Starred Review */ Queen Briseis and the women of Lyrnessus watch helplessly from the citadel as Achilles destroys the city, slaughtering their husbands, fathers, sons. When Briseis is made Achilles’ slave as a prize of war, the one comfort in this horrifying new existence is Patroclus, Achilles’ comrade and friend. When Agamemnon attempts to claim Briseis as his own, it changes the tide of the Trojan War. In graceful prose, Man Booker Prize winner Barker (Noonday, 2016), renowned for her historical fiction trilogies, offers a compelling take on the events of The Iliad, allowing Briseis a first-person perspective, while players such as Patroclus and Achilles are examined in illuminating third-person narration. Briseis is flawlessly drawn as Barker wisely avoids the pitfall so many authors stumble into headlong, namely, giving her an anachronistic modern feminist viewpoint. Instead, the terror of her experience of being treated as an object rather than a person speaks (shouts) for itself. Patroclus tells her things will change, and if they don’t, to make them, to which Briseis, utterly powerless, replies, “Spoken like a man.” The army camp, the warrior mindset, the horrors of battle, the silence of the girls—Barker makes it all convincing and very powerful. Recommended on the highest order. -- Bethany Latham (Reviewed 7/1/2018) (Booklist, vol 114, number 21, p28)
  • Barker, author of the Booker-winning The Ghost Road, speculates about the fate of the women taken captive during the Trojan War, as related in Homer’s Iliad. Briseis, queen of the small country of Lyrnessus, was captured by the Greek forces and awarded to Achilles, fated to serve him as slave and concubine. Through her eyes readers see the horror of war: the sea of blood and corpses, the looting, and the drunken aftermath of battle. When Agamemnon demands that Briseis be handed over to him, Achilles reacts with rage and refuses to fight, and when his foster brother and lover Patrocles is killed, having gone into battle in Achilles’s stead, Briseis becomes the unwitting catalyst of a turning point in the war. In Barker’s hands, the conflict takes on a new dimension, with revisionist portraits of Achilles (“we called him the butcher”) and Patroclus (he had “taken his mother’s place” in Achilles’s heart). Despite its strong narrative line and transportive scenes of ancient life, however, this novel lacks the lyrical cadences and magical intensity of Madeline Miller’s Circe, another recent revising of Greek mythology. The use of British contemporary slang in the dialogue is jarring, and detracts from the story’s intensity. Yet this remains a suspenseful and moving illumination of women’s fates in wartime. (Sept.) --Staff (Reviewed 07/09/2018) (Publishers Weekly, vol 265, issue 28, p)
  • Booker Prize-winning Barker, who set her celebrated "Regeneration" trilogy during World War I, here reaches back in time to the Trojan War, when women served mainly as slaves or prostitutes or laid out the dead. At the heart of the narrative is not the battle between Greeks and Trojans but between Achilles and Agamemnon over Briseis, once queen of a kingdom neighboring Troy and now Achilles's concubine after he murdered her husband and brothers. --Barbara Hoffert (Reviewed 04/15/2018) (Library Journal, vol 143, issue 7, p46)
  • An accomplished hand at historical fiction respins the final weeks of the Trojan War. For her 14th novel, Booker Prize-winning Barker plucks her direction from the first line of the Iliad: "Divine Muse, sing of the ruinous wrath of Achilles...." The archetypal Greek warrior's battle cries ring throughout these pages, beginning on the first. The novel opens as Achilles and his soldiers sack Lyrnessus, closing in on the women and children hiding in the citadel. Narrating their terrifying approach is Briseis, the local queen who sees her husband and brothers slaughtered below. She makes a fateful choice not to follow her cousin over the parapet to her death. She becomes instead Achilles' war trophy. Briseis calls herself "a disappointment...a skinny little thing, all hair and eyes and scarcely a curve in sight." But in the Greek military encampment on the outskirts of Troy, she stirs much lust, including in the commander Agamemnon. So far, so faithful to Homer. Barker's innovation rests in the female perspective, something she wove masterfully into her Regeneration and Life Class trilogies about World War I. Here she gives Briseis a wry voice and a watchful nature; she likens herself as a mouse to Achilles' hawk. Even as the men boast and drink and fight their way toward immortality, the camp women live outwardly by Barker's title. Their lives depend on knowing their place: "Men carve meaning into women's faces; messages addressed to other men." Barker writes 47 brisk chapters of smooth sentences; her dialogue, as usual, hums with intelligence. But unlike her World War I novels, the verisimilitude quickly thins. Her knowledge of antiquity is not nearly as assured as Madeline Miller's in The Song of Achilles and Circe. Barker's prose is awkwardly thick with Briticisms—breasts are "wrinkled dugs" or "knockers." And she mistakenly gives the Greeks a military field hospital, which was an innovation of the Romans. A depiction of Achilles' endless grief for Patroclus becomes itself nearly endless. (Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2018)
Assigning source
  • Provided by publisher
  • Provided by publisher
Awards note
Man Booker Prize, 2018
http://library.link/vocab/ext/novelist/bookUI
10692362
Cataloging source
DLC
http://library.link/vocab/creatorDate
1943-
http://library.link/vocab/creatorName
Barker, Pat
Index
no index present
Language note
Text in English
Literary form
fiction
http://library.link/vocab/resourcePreferred
True
http://library.link/vocab/subjectName
  • Briseis (Legendary character)
  • Trojan War
  • Trojan War
  • Troy (Extinct city)
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • FICTION
  • Turkey
Label
The silence of the girls : a novel, Pat Barker
Instantiates
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First United States edition.
Extent
293 pages
Isbn
9780385544214
Lccn
2018014387
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1019649523
Label
The silence of the girls : a novel, Pat Barker
Publication
Copyright
Carrier category
volume
Carrier category code
  • nc
Carrier MARC source
rdacarrier
Content category
text
Content type code
  • txt
Content type MARC source
rdacontent
Dimensions
25 cm
Edition
First United States edition.
Extent
293 pages
Isbn
9780385544214
Lccn
2018014387
Media category
unmediated
Media MARC source
rdamedia
Media type code
  • n
System control number
(OCoLC)1019649523

Library Locations

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      33.387732 -84.816797

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