The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

Tuesday, January 31, 2012


The Silent Land
Zoe's face clouded over. "This can't be right. This just can't be right."
"What?"
Her face registered her alarm. "Look at that hotel. And look at the church at the top of the hill."
"What about it?"
"The tower. It's the same. Same as the one in our village."
"Similar."
"Not similar, Jake. Not similar at all. It's the same. So is that hotel. We're back in Saint-Bernard. We haven't gone anywhere!"

Jack and Zoe, a young married couple are enjoying a beautiful day skiing along the French Pyrenees when they are buried under a flash avalanche. Somehow, they both manage to crawl their way out of the snow and decide to return to the hotel to help in any rescue efforts. They arrive back at the town to discover that there are no people about - it looks as if the entire town was evacuated. They decide to wait a while before trying to leave town. While they wait, they notice that they are not able to use their cell phones or land lines, that cuts of meat appear to remain fresh for much longer than is usual, they do not bleed. When they try to leave, they keep getting back to where they started. Almost as if the town doesn't want to let them go.

It's been a while since I read The Silent Land, so I wasn't sure if I wanted to review this book. But, I remember that I had enjoyed it a lot, so I find it difficult to let it go without even trying to recommend it to you, however briefly or inarticulately. I picked The Silent Land impulsively after seeing it listed in the ebooks catalog at my library. Since I knew next to nothing about this book, I decided to read it.

The Silent Land is not a supernatural or paranormal story. It is a regular literary fiction with elements of the unknown and the unimaginable woven in, in a very realistic manner. It's hard to say more about this book without giving away the core element of this book - the whole mystery of what happened to the town post-avalanche. I had a ton of guesses as to what could be the matter, but as the story progressed on, and I read of more strange happenings, I began to have a strong suspicion of what might have happened. Still, when the climax rolled along, I felt very sad for Jack and Zoe.

I wasn't particularly impressed by the writing, however. Some of the dialogues felt way too cheesy and immature, and there were times I felt the characters were acting too childish to suit the circumstance. I was able to look past these however because the story held intrigue. There were times I thought that some stuff were too weird, but when all is explained and done, everything begins to make sense. This is however not a book I'd like to see adapted to screen, mainly because this idea has been exploited a lot on screen and I tend to scoff whenever I come across it. For some reason, reading about it made the premise more possible and realistic, probably because it's a while before the truth is revealed. Overall, I enjoyed this read a lot.


I borrowed this book from my library.


6 comments:

Leeswammes said...

Sounds creepy and intriguing - a book for my wishlist. Worth a try I think!

Jenny said...

Ooh I think this sounds too creepy for me!

zibilee said...

I think I might be able to figure out what happened, but I am not sure, and that makes me want to delve into the book and figure out if I am right or not! This was a really interesting review, and the fact that you were able to express your thoughts so fluidly, without giving anything away was wonderful. So glad that you liked it!

Lenasledgeblog.com said...

It does sound like I've seen this on screen before many times. I can't think of the names of the films however. But it's sounds intriguing to read. P.S. I also mentioned your blog in my new book. I don't know if you knew that or not. :-)

Mrs. Q: Book Addict said...

This one is new to me. I really enjoy literary fiction. Great review!

Athira / Aths said...

Can't believe that I still didn't reply to your message. I really thought I did. Shucks!


I saw the mention! Thank you so so very much for it. It really is an honor! I have the book wishlisted and am planning to buy it this summer. Thank you once again. :)