"I hated serving drinks at dinner, though of course it didn't matter to Achilles whether I hated it or not and, curiously, it soon stopped mattering to me. This is what free people never understand. A slave isn't a person who's being treated as a thing. A slave is a thing, as much in her own estimation as in anybody else's." Pat Barker : The Silence of the Girls
This is a retelling of Illiad told from the perspective of Briseis. She was once a queen of one of Troy's nearby kingdoms. When her kingdom was sacked by the Greek army she becomes a concubine to Achilles, who murdered her brothers and husband. This follows her time and experiences in the Greek camp outside of Troy as war rages on.
Reading about the outcomes of war from a woman's perspective is deeply lacking overall in literature so I was really excited to read this. Ultimately I did enjoy it. Pat Barker is a great story teller and never let the reader forget that Briseis is a slave, that her choices aren't free, and yet she still has it better than 99% of the women that were captured. Most of the chapters were told from her perspective but later in the book there were also chapters from the perspective of Achilles and other men. Here is my gripe about the book; I could have done without any chapters from the perspective of a man. This is supposed to be the story of the women of the camp. Why not share from the perspective of other slave women in worse circumstances, what about from the perspective of a woman inside Troy? There are countless women's stories that could have been told. I would still recommend this to anyone who has been enjoying mythology retellings. Please keep in mind that there are countless trigger warnings for abuse against women throughout this book.
▶ Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
▶ Question: Have you ever read a book to compare it to a previously read book? I read this as a #buddyread
and both of us wanted to read this in order to compare it to Song of Achilles.
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