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Listening to the Silence

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The Owl Killers
Karen Maitland
The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
Daniel James Brown
Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell
August Is A Wicked Month - Edna O'Brien

Ellen, like so many other women, is dissatisfied with her life. She has left her husband, taking their son with her. When he comes to take the boy on holiday, she makes her own to the south of France, spending her days in a haze of decadance and forgetfulness.


If you are looking for a book with a lot of plot, then you best skip this book. It is an homage to internal thought and introspection, reminding me in many ways of Kate Chopin's The Awakening, Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. The language has a slow, langurious quality to it, in which everything seems to be happening in the half-realized manner of a dream, interspersed with the frenetic quality of extreme loneliness. This book filled me with an incredible sense of sadness, as in some ways I found myself in complete undersranding of ellen's emotions. I felt a keen sympathy with her. The author's characterization was incredibly well-done. It was as if I was living Ellen's story myself. 


I found it quite a different type of read from the same author's The Country Girls Trilogy, and look forward to reading more by her to see if she is yet again able to sucessfully make another stylistic change, or if it will more closely match one or the other of her books I have already completed. As needs must with novels of this type it was quite short, only 138 pages long, so if you are unsure of it at least it will not be a lot of time spent. If you enjoy novels of the variety I mentioned earlier in my review, then this is definitely one you should read. If not, then I highly recommend you take a pass.