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The Silent Land MP3 CD – Mar 29 2011

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MP3 CD, Mar 29 2011
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Product Details

  • MP3 CD: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks; MP3 Una edition (March 29 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441780335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441780331
  • Product Dimensions: 19 x 13.5 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 91 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 104 reviews
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
An Advertised Thriller--This Contemplative Novel Is More Successful As A Relationship Drama Jan. 13 2011
By K. Harris - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Graham Joyce's "The Silent Land" poses quite a conundrum for me. Did I enjoy the novel? Yes, it was a rather quick and engaging read. But I'm not entirely sure that I'd go out of my way to recommend it. Billed as a "suspense novel," I don't really think "The Silent Land" will capture that marketplace with its rather gentle tone. As a mystery or puzzler, I think Joyce's work is competently constructed and well thought-out but (and here's a big but) it's not the least bit surprising. Anyone who's seen a film, watched TV, or read a book recently will undoubtedly uncover the central enigma almost from the get-go. I'm not saying that necessarily spoils "The Silent Land," but expectations set forth by the book's marketing campaign may confound "thrill readers" (the target audience listed in advance press).

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.
26 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Will get you thinking April 27 2011
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Starting with an incredibly revealing book jacket that shames Kindle and Nook, this lucky 13th book by Graham Joyce is a startling reality wake-up call --- and it prognosticates what is to come.

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
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A Sad and Pretty World Aug. 2 2012
By Gordon B. White - Published on
Format: Paperback
It should be noted that this book is NOT a "thriller." Instead, as other reviewers have aptly pointed out, it is about the relationship between a husband and wife following an apparent tragedy. There are some supernatural/psychological trimmings and a well-crafted sense of eeriness, but certainly not what one would consider "thrilling."

That being said, it's an excellent and thoughtful meditation on love and the role of memories. Joyce's writing and aesthetic choices are well suited to the silent, snow-laden atmosphere. The uncanny and the mundane, even carnal, exist side-by-side in simple, clean prose. This choice helps to ground the fantastic elements and allow the interactions between the characters to resonate. There were parts that I would re-read to let the description settle in and experience the world.

The writing is very clear and pristine, but there are a few absolutely gorgeous standout sections that rise above the snow blankets. In particular there are a few conversations between the characters and two exceptional flashbacks stand out as real high points. If anything, I dropped a star from the rating because more of these highs scattered throughout could have made the book profoundly moving (instead its a great examination of these themes, but not quite perfect).

While some of the other reviewers found the main characters unidentifiable or unlikeable, I found them well-drawn. The clean/sparse prose and focus on current dialogue/actions may leave some readers who want more backstory cold, but I found the characters relatable and very human. Instead of a lack of detail, I saw enough concrete detail to appreciate the characters on their own, but also enough clear space to allow the narrative to resonate with my personal experiences, as well.

As a final note, many reviewers have commented on the "twist(s)" in the work and how they are/are not easy to see coming. These "twists" are more like gradual developments, coming a very clear "act-breaks" so that when it becomes obvious to the reader, it shortly thereafter becomes obvious to the characters. That said, it doesn't seem that catching the reader off-guard was ever Mr. Joyce's intention, so readers expecting to savor the journey rather than find shocks will probably be better able to engage with the book as intended.

All in all, highly recommended. But read it at night, in bed beside a loved one, and let yourself get lost.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A relationship novel, not a supernatural thriller June 20 2011
By bekki - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book several months ago and thinking about it several times in the meantime, I'm still not 100% sure of how I feel about this book. It was good, but it wasn't great. Sometimes the writing felt a bit clunky, but the imagery was always very real and very present. The story is told from perspective of a young woman who along with her husband become trapped in an avalanche while on a skiing trip. Once they escape the snow, they travel down to their chalet to find that the entire hotel, town, and countryside is completely abandoned - it's as if everyone disappeared out of thin air. It's spooky stuff, but Mr. Joyce chooses to focus on the relationship between his protagonists more than on the creepy things happening around them. This is both good and bad. I'm glad this wasn't just another ghost story, but I also never felt that passionate about either character or worried for their safety. The 'twist' ending also left me somewhat unsatisfied. I figured where it was going long before it happened so I don't really know if it was supposed to be a shocker, but it was written in a way that suggested it was. So I'm of two minds. I enjoyed it and I would probably recommend it with some minor reservations, but I definitely wouldn't go back to visit it again. Nor would I jump on the chance to read more Joyce.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It doesn't get any better April 28 2011
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Everyone talks about Stephen King, et al, and they are certainly a good authors, but people should be aware that Graham Joyce is one of the best of the genre of just plain strange books, though I don't hear so much about him.

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.

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