The Silent Land MP3 CD – Mar 29 2011
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“Brave and ultimately heartbreaking. . . . A classic in the making.” —The Washington Post
“I won’t bother saying Graham Joyce deserves to find a wide audience in America; rather, I think the American audience deserves to discover him.” —Jonathan Lethem
“Graham Joyce’s near-perfect novella of near-death experience, isolation, and winter cold is a tour de force. . . . A study in classic supernatural fiction.” —The Independent (London)
“Stark, layered, ominous and . . . appealing.” —The New York Times
“Joyce’s crisp prose, transparent as ice crystals, is the perfect medium for Jake and Zoe's tale. Emotion-laden yet unsentimental, unflinchingly attuned to the fluencies of love, The Silent Land brings us to the brink of death and gives a glimpse of the unfathomable beauty lying beyond.” —The Seattle Times
“As engaging as a twisted fireside yarn and paced almost as quickly.” —Los Angeles Times
“Mesmerizing. . . . This is a lean, philosophically sophisticated book, and Joyce’s ability to slip into its short length heady meditations on love, death, and the state of contemporary society is a measure of his craftiness.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
“[An] eerie, wintry fable. . . . Delivers a chilling thrill. . . . Perfect for a Sunday afternoon as the dusk begins to fall.” —The Scotsman
“A book as crisp as new snow. . . . Compelling. . . . You’ll laugh, albeit nervously; you’ll cry, unless you’re completely heartless; you’ll give your nearest and dearest hugs without really being able to explain why you’re so glad to see them—really, what more do you want from a novel?” —SFX.com
“I became a rabidly devoted fan of Graham Joyce’s the first time I read is work.” —Peter Straub
“[Graham Joyce] is one of those writers who make traditional literary distinctions–horror versus fantasy, genre versus mainstream–seem not only trivial, but irrelevant as well. . . . The Silent Land is one of his most dreamlike, emotionally resonant creations to date. . . . A suspenseful, otherworldly adventure and a metaphysical love story as real and affecting as anything you’re likely to encounter in contemporary fiction.” —Subterranean Press
“How fully Joyce re-creates the eerie border country that Jake refers to as ‘the seams between life and death.’. . . The Silent Land suggests that the ultimate question is whether we can wake up from our comfortably numb state before it’s too late.” —Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“Joyce is skilled at delineating the fracture lines of relationships, and sets up the Bennetts’ claustrophobic confinement in minute detail, showing how their love for each other withstands and overcomes the growing mystery of their circumstances. . . . Moving.” —The Guardian (London)
“Joyce paints a tapestry of intrigue and Hitchcock-like suspense, sort of a cross between Stephen King’s The Langoliers and The Twilight Zone. . . . Phenomenal.” —Bookreporter
“Anyone who isn’t reading Graham Joyce is doing themselves a huge disservice. No matter what kind of story he takes on, his work immediately becomes the standard to which all others have to be compared.” —Charles de Lint
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Graham Joyce was born into a Coventry mining family and now lives in Leicester. In addition to writing he teaches a Creative Writing course at Nottingham University. He is a multiple winner of the World and British Fantasy Awards and has been shortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A daybreak "avalanche with its ferocious white teeth had snapped at their heels." Zoe is crushed by the onslaught: "Total silence, total darkness." She resigns herself to her situation: "You're in a snow tomb, be calm." Ankles over elbows, she realizes she's upside down in that tomb. Fortunately, husband Jake comes to her rescue. With no skis, they work their way to an abandoned lift operator's cabin. With heat --- and a hip flask --- to warm them, they take the operator's single set of skis, working their way back to Saint-Bernard-en-Haut. The village is deserted, but something else seems amiss.
They return to the tiny ski village where they had first met years before: "There was something they had to sort out. Something they were meant to discuss. But she knew that right now was the wrong moment." The next day they steal a police car, the only vehicle with ignition keys. They try to get out of the village, where another avalanche looms. Fogbound and snowbound, Jake teeters the car over a precipice. Returning to the hotel, there are no TV, radio or phone signals. And --- horrors! --- no Internet connection. Attempts to leave Saint-Bernard on foot fail.
The novel's text has the simplicity and beauty of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. With deft brush strokes, Joyce paints a tapestry of intrigue and Hitchcock-like suspense, sort of a cross between Stephen King's THE LANGOLIERS and "The Twilight Zone." "It's like there's a conspiracy to keep us here," Jake ponders. Eventually they quit communicating. "When they had no banter, that meant the situation was serious," each blaming the other for their predicament. It's Jake's shocking revelation that turns eerie into just plain weird. He questions if "we're trapped here, or if we've been freed here."
Realization becomes resignation, as Zoe and Jake no longer try to leave Saint-Bernard. Something "had delivered to them an idle abundance." Zoe opines, "I'm thinking of all the stupid time-wasting things. Shopping. Bowling. Killing time. Pissing it all away. We know death is coming. And yet we always see our loved ones as taken away from us, instead of given to us for whatever time they have."
"With Nature there was always an account, and [Jake] said that ultimately they still inhabited a corner of that same infinite box that was Nature." THE SILENT LAND made me ponder how much --- or how little --- I've contributed to life. Isn't that what makes for phenomenal writing?
--- Reviewed by L. Dean Murphy
Ultimately, what will sell (or not sell) "The Silent Land" is NOT the mystery that faces its central characters but their journey to reach that truth. Loving married couple Jake and Zoe are on a skiing holiday in the French Alps when the unthinkable happens--an early morning avalanche strikes as they are isolated on the slopes. Through perseverance and instinct, they manage to extricate themselves from the snow and are thoroughly invigorated just to be alive. However, when they make it back to the lodge and the village--there seems to have been an evacuation. Without a soul in sight and no telephone communications, Zoe and Jake attempt to jump ship as well before the next wall of snow hurtles down on them. But nature seems to be conspiring against their escape. Soon their fear gives way to absolute freedom which in turn slides to dread. Just what is really going on?
As I said, I think most people will have figured things out quite early--so any pleasure must be in the telling. I genuinely liked Jake and Zoe, and it wasn't a hardship to share in their joys and frustrations. As opposed to a thriller, "The Silent Land" is a contemplation of life, memories, regrets, and relationships. And it's a love story--in many ways, I think this should have been Joyce's focus. I think that "The Silent Land" had the potential to be an absolutely harrowing and heartbreaking dissection of love and marriage. The supernatural trickery should have supported this aspect as opposed to the other way around. As is, though, "The Silent Land" played out just as you know it will. A diverting read, perhaps, but this book should have rocked me to the core. About 3 1/2 stars. KGHarris, 1/11.
The Silent Land is a very scary story too. Written very tensly at times it's enough to rattle you. I enjoyed the way the supernatural snuck in and poked its head around corners and popped up unexpectedly. It makes the story and what seems to be happening exceedingly spooky. There were twists and turns enough to make this a very fast and interesting book to read. I think this story is a testament to life and a reminder that all is not what it seems to be at times and that we should savor the moments with ourselves and those we love. It's a testament also to time spent savoring good wine and food, and remembering that our time with our pets, our family and loved ones is here but for a flash of time like the wisp of a six-pointed, perfect snowflake melting on the window pane.
Graham Joyce is a talented writer. The writing in The Silent Land is wonderful and I could feel the cold and the chill of the wind and experience the confusion and fright of Zoe and Jake. The writing was so good that I just flowed with the story and let it unfold in it's own way. I thought that though the subject may not be new, the writing was fresh and very good from the first sentence; it had me hooked and I didn't stop until I finished it.
If you are looking for a good book to read you could do much worse, I promise. Escape to the winter world of The Silent Land and spend a few hours there, you'll view things from a different perspective by the time you set it back down again.
This is a lovely book and would make a perfect movie! Zoe and Jake are skiing in Europe when an avalanche occurs. They survive, but when they return to the village, no one is there. Everyone seems to have disappeared totally. The story covers the next few days of their lives as things get less and less clear about what has happened and they try to figure out what exactly is going on.
A wonderful story told with a high creepiness quotient! While I did figure out what was going on fairly early, it didn't affect the suspense at all!
I recommend this book highly.
If you've never read Graham Joyce, start with this book - you will soar with the ski-iers. For anyone who has loved The Tooth Fairy, The Facts of Life, Dark Sister, Dreamside, you will be well satisfied with this new one.