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The Silence of the Girls

Length: 10 hrs and 44 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (85 ratings)

Non-member price: $30.38

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Publisher's 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 members say

Average Customer Ratings

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no longer silent

a fictional account with such high quality research and content I felt like I was there.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ian
  • Brisbane, Australia
  • 10-04-2019

Captivating

I normally don't read fiction but i'm glad I made an exception with this book. It is a beautifully written, emotionally moving journey that enthralled me from beginning to end. The two narrators brought the story to life, and especially Kristin Atherton who is superb. Highly recommended.

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Beautifully written

I loved this book - history made readable and real. I liked the way it had a current feel to ancient mythology. Well worth the read

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I really enjoyed this book

Very well written and brilliantly narrated. Thought provoking as it provides a different perspective on war and conflict.


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I couldn't stop listening..

Wow. The history, the brutality, the grief, and the stark resemblance and differences to living as a woman now.

I can see how & why women remain at the mercy of men.

History; HIS story. it's refreshing (and sad) to listen to HER story.

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Loved every minute of it

I listened to this book in 2 sitting and could not put it down. I now need to go and do some more research of the Greek history

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  • Susan
  • Tomewin, NSW, Australia
  • 14-01-2019

Immersive Greek/Trogan story

How fascinating and enjoyable to find yourself in a Greek tragedy observing the characters that have influenced our world for so long.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms
  • 02-03-2019

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.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Barbie
  • 02-09-2018

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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-09-2018

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.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-10-2018

Great retelling that feels original.

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

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Anthony D. Bateman
  • 17-09-2018

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Silver Fox
  • 14-06-2019

Powerful. Captivating. A great listen.

Couldn't stop listening. Everything about this Audible book was terrific. Pat Barker's story narrated beautifully. Probably best Audible book yet.

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  • Oif91
  • 11-06-2019

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...

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  • C. R. Yule
  • 09-06-2019

Slightly spoiled by Michael Fox!

This is an extraordinary retelling of the Iliad. Seen through the eyes of the women captured during the Trojan war, its fascinating and disturbing in equal measure. It was spoilt for me by the the reading of Achilles part which is done badly by someone who sounds like he went to Eton and Sandhurst, not an accent I hear as heroic at all. But buy it for the story, its gripping.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-05-2019

Raw and thought provoking. Fantastic.

The alternative story of Troy, compelling and moving. Good narration. Kept my interest throughout the whole book.

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  • Laura Johnson
  • 23-05-2019

Captivating & beautifully expressed

I didn’t know what to expect from The Silence of the Girls, however I found myself captivated by the re-telling of this famous story from an entirely different perspective. From the gates of Troy to the terrible reality of war and brutality for the survivors this altered perspective is a compelling narrative beautifully told.