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Showing posts from October, 2009

The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

Three years later, Louis had gone away to college and I married Griff. Damn fairies, I thought to myself now. I don't live in a yellow house, I've never been to the ocean, and Louis didn't love me forever. And my Calli, my dear heart, is missing. All that I touch gets damaged or lost.

from page 115

The title of Heather Gudenkauf's debut novel, The Weight of Silence, has both literal and figurative meaning in this spell binding and heart pounding story. The story is straight from every parent's worst nightmare; however, at its heart it is truly about the cost of the silence it takes to keep a secret hidden and the trauma that would silence a little girl for years.

One idyllic summer day, the Clark and Gregory families wake up early to find that their seven year old daughters, Calli Clark and Petra Gregory, are missing. As the sweltering summer day progresses and the search continues, it becomes clear that the two girls, best friends for years, have not merely wan…

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

This is the fourth novel by Maggie O'Farrell, but only the third that I've read. Copies of her debut title, After You'd Gone, are available in the county to borrow; her second title, My Lover's Lover, is available upon request from outside the county, which is how I read it. I've read her first two novels and I recommend them. O'Farrell's most recent novel is The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox and it is a complex, tragic tale of the dynamics of family, love, trust and betrayal in 1930's Britain.

The novel switches off among three perspectives: Iris's point of view in present time, Esme's point of view that fluidly moves between her recollections of the past and her perception of the present, and Esme's sister Kitty's point of view that offers extremely disjointed recollections filtered through the fog of the Alzheimer's disease from which she suffers. Each perspective has a subtley distinct voice as each character narrates the story…