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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
Wild Harbour - Ian MacPherson

Written in 1936, this novel precedes the Second World War, but also predicts it. While the details of the war and it's cause are vague, and the events unlike the the real war. It is a clear portrait of the fear and anguish that often accompany war. Presented as  diary of Hugh and his wife Terry who escape to the hills of Scotland after he is drafted, this book describes what befalls them for the two seasons they spent hiding in a cave, and what transpires when they find their retreat from the world invaded.


This book is long on description. In some books I like this, while in others I find it bores me. Unfortunately in the case of this book, I found it to be the latter. I often found, myself skimming the story. Sadly, I also found the characterization lacking. I just didn't really care all that much for what happened to either Hugh or Terry. Finally, the introduction gave away every major detail of the book. I don't object to knowing how a book will end. It is the whys and hows that I read for. The introduction stole even that from me. These factors combined made this a book I didn't find myself much compelled to read. What kept me going was simply the interest in how close to truth the author was able to get in prediction of a world plunged into war shortly after publication. I was also curious as to how much of this is tied to the author's beliefs on the nature of war. I do, however, think that this is a book that will work for many people, particularly fans of dystopian fiction, as long as they avoid the introduction.