“We’re going to survive—our songs, our stories. They’ll never be able to forget us. Decades after the last man who fought at Troy is dead, their sons will remember the songs their Trojan mothers sang to them. We’ll be in their dreams—and in their worst nightmares too.”
While The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker doesn’t fit any of the Women in MythAThon prompts, it still fits into the discussion about women in mythology. The book is told from the point of view of Briseis, who was a queen of Lyrnessus until Achilles destroyed the city. As a reward, Achilles was given Briseis to keep as a concubine.
Briseis is one voice out of thousands of women living in the Greek camp. She knows that her situation, although not ideal, could be worse. The women are forced to work for men who destroyed their families. They are prostitutes, nurses, and preparers of the deceased. We don’t hear their point of view very often. It is an interesting contrast to the point of view of Helen in Daughters of Sparta. Women on both sides of the war lose so much while Helen remains unscathed for the most part.
Briseis is conflicted about having to spend time with Achilles. On one hand, he is handsome and kind to her. On the other hand, he did kill her husband and other family members. She does enjoy a friendship with Patroclus, who is Achilles’s BFF/boyfriend. Briseis doesn’t care too much if they are more than friends. She just needs a friend and Patroclus is kind to her.
When she is forced to go with Agamemnon, Briseis knows that he will not be quite as kind. Agamemnon is a horrible person in every book that I’ve read about the Trojan War. Somehow she manages to leave his camp. Thank the Gods! ( I know how and why but I don’t want to give every detail away.)
If you are a fan of Greek Mythology or stories about the Trojan War, then you will enjoy this book. If you are a fan of Agememnon or Hector, then this book might be awkward for you.