Posted in Books and E-Books

The Silence of the Girls

Back in April, I found that my nephew and niece, who had very kindly come over to help me start packing things for the move to Tennessee, had accidently packed all the books I was reading – in unmarked boxes! So off to Barnes & Noble in Moorestown!

I bought a new Ellery Adams cozy mystery at Storyton Hall, something called The Book Charmer and something else that I can’t remember. Walking to the checkout, I saw a display of books all wrapped in brown paper and twine. All you got to see was the recap: “Fiction/ -retelling, Trojan War, Greek Mythology” and the number with the price. “Why not,” I figured?

So this is the book: The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

The story begins just before the events in Homer’s Iliad, and is mainly told from the point of view of Briseis, captured and enslaved by the invading Greeks. Briseis becomes the property of Achilles, the Greek champion. But, she then becomes a pawn between the Greek general, Agamemnon, and Achilles, in their ruthless struggle for supremacy.

Ms Barker has a gift for drawing her characters as multi-faceted, making them so much more than words on a page. Each character becomes a real human being in her hands. Even minor characters are portrayed as well-rounded individuals. This makes the book interesting to read. However, since this is a book occurring during the final days of the Trojan War, it is at times brutal in its descriptions of the scenes of the takeover of the city and the battlefield. The horrors experienced by the women, men, and children on the losing side are vivid and haunting.

I did like the book. And I know that many will really enjoy it – it is worth the read. However, it is not one that I will be rereading, mainly because of that haunting brutality. I understand that this is to be the beginning of a series to be continued, and I hope it does well. For me, I think I’ll go reread some Jane Austen for a while – I’ve had enough of war for now.