Trojan War retold: The Silence of the Girls


Trojan War, retold

City after city falls to the Greeks and is burnt down to ashes. Briseis, the wife of Lyrnesuss’s king, is held captive along the rest of the womenfolk. She becomes a slave. As her luck has it, she is given as a prize to the very same man that killed her brothers and husband: the infamous Achilles.

And so starts the story of one of the most time-consuming and epic wars of all time. And war is believed to be a matter for the Man. Women are to be silent. But this time we see it all through the eyes of a woman; a slave woman, nonetheless, and one who used to be the wife of a king.

What will life hold for Briseis and the rest of Lyrnessus’s women from now on? As more and more cities fall under the Greeks, more  women will have to meet this same fate. But what are the women thinking? What do they talk about in hushed tones when their chores are done? What do they share with one another?

This is the women’s war.

These are the things they witnessed, the things they thought, and their own struggles with their fate.

A captivating story, The Silence of the Girls is a tragic retelling of one of the most famous stories of the ancient world: the Trojan War. It is such a multi-dimensional, tragic and yet compelling story, that it is quite hard to properly describe every aspect of it. These are the horrors of war, the pain behind the supposed glory of fighting, and all that is left behind.

Focused particularly on the women, the author offers the reader a glimpse into the fate that awaited the women of cities that fell into the enemy’s hands. Death is not always the worst of fates, as the Trojan women teach us. Through the eyes of Briseis, we follow the women’s fates through the pain, anger, humiliation and fear they have to endure; and, above all else, the objectification that roots even in their own minds.

But it is not only the story of the captives’ mind.

Briseis sees it all: day in and day out, she listens and watches everything. And that is how we follow the story of Achilles, to an extent that even his comrades don’t. The reader can practically feel the anger reeking from the great warrior, they can feel the love for the friend he considers a brother, Patroclus, and follow his life through the last parts of the Trojan War.

The timeline is incredibly well researched and accurate. The author has followed the story of Iliad to an impressive point, transferring to us not only the thoughts of the heroes, but also the feelings that must have been present in such events. But, above all else, we have to remember that this is the story of the women, and listen to everything they have to tell.