RaveThe New York Review of Books\"... unsentimental and beautiful ... The Silence of the Girls... is a fiction that acts as what we might think of as a séance in reverse: these novels do not use the living to summon the dead, but the dead to summon the living ... Barker establishes her register at the outset: there is beauty as well as terror in her language, in the physical world she creates, in the changing, unpredictable relationships and situations for the captive Briseis, but Barker keeps her Briseis and Achilles alive in time, not in timeless myth. Barker doesn’t want her readers dazzled or deluded, in the position of the Trojans when Patroclus wears Achilles’s armor into battle ... Barker brilliantly sets against Homer’s list of warriors and the glossary of wounds with which Achilles kills them a catalog of their mothers’ efforts to bear and rear them, the struggle to sustain life that also finishes in the dust with their sons’ bodies, without even the compensation of glory ... Barker’s novel has been called a \'feminist Iliad\'—and, of course, it is, unmistakably; but it cannot be conveniently relegated, as sometimes happens, to a niche of fiction, a genre of retellings by women. It is not only about women’s experience, but about slavery too. And it is also about the nature of knowledge, an exploration of the ways we perceive, and refuse to perceive, reality.\
RaveThe New York Review of BooksMiller’s novel charms like a good bedtime story; she understands our inexhaustible appetite for myths starring our favorite characters, and that we don’t want these stories to end ... Miller’s technique echoes Circe’s alchemical powers, as she makes these minor characters more than mere references. She performs a sleight of hand on the gods; instead of figures of ambivalent and shifting grace, favoritism, and destruction in relation to humanity, Miller’s gods for the most part hold human beings in contempt. The gods are chilling: their immortality makes them incapable of love ... Miller has a gift for creating settings that summarize their inhabitants, along with swiftly brushstroked traits and habits that define characters ... Miller transcends her fairy-tale models, though she returns to them at the book’s conclusion, somewhat predictably, but still poignantly. Miller understands that the best fairy tales are not only wish fulfillments but also stories of the denial of wishes. She manages to combine both elements in her finale, creating an ending that is simultaneously happy and unhappy.