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The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

The Silent Land (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Graham Joyce

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2953538,041 (3.73)39
Title:The Silent Land
Authors:Graham Joyce
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (2010)


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On the cover it says "Brave and heartbreaking", "Stark, layered and ominous" , "A new classic"....are you rolling your eyes? I did. I am not sure how I ended up with this book...But I can say honestly it was a great read. IT IS stark, layered and ominous.For the first time in a long time I got the full creep factor while reading....is something at MY window....What was that noise?? I actually jumped when one of my cats knocked something off the table. I couldn't put it down. I would read it a second time. ( )
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
On the cover it says "Brave and heartbreaking", "Stark, layered and ominous" , "A new classic"....are you rolling your eyes? I did. I am not sure how I ended up with this book...But I can say honestly it was a great read. IT IS stark, layered and ominous.For the first time in a long time I got the full creep factor while reading....is something at MY window....What was that noise?? I actually jumped when one of my cats knocked something off the table. I couldn't put it down. I would read it a second time. ( )
  jaddington | Feb 16, 2015 |
A British couple in their 30s is on a ski trip in the Pyrenees when they are caught off-guard by an avalanche. Zoe and Jake's harrowing experience leaves them stunned and they return to the small village where they are staying shaken but grateful to have survived. When they arrive they find the whole place deserted.

Their reactions follow a predictable pattern at first. They make excuses as to where everyone is, explore the area, act like kids in a candy shop as they try food and wine in different restaurants, etc. But soon their unease mounts with each passing hour and they start to notice odd details about their surroundings. The novel seems tame at first, but the tension builds beautifully.

There were moments that reminded me of the eerie solitude in “The Shining”. Other times their sweet playfulness felt like a romantic comedy gone horribly wrong. I was completely sucked into the story. I’m glad I read it in the midst of January snow storms. The mood was already set for the chilling story.

Occasionally the writing felt forced and overly descriptive and took me out of the story…

““The mist hung in the air like a prancing unicorn.”

Those eye-rolling moments gave me pause, but the overall impact of the book more than made up for it.

Without getting into any spoilers, the book had more depth than I was expecting. It was bittersweet and balanced reflection, fear and love in equal parts.

BOTTOM LINE: Hard to put down. At times the writing felt overly melodramatic but that was my only complaint. A great choice to curl up with when it’s cold outside and you want something a bit unnerving.

*I also just have to say that the hardcover is gorgeous! It has a vellum dust jacket and a stark cover.

"What are we if we're not the sum of our memories?
You're forgetting about what we might become. Isn't that more important?"

"Nurses and soldiers, thought Jake. They see it all, and pretend they've seen nothing."

"Their conversations were all the time shrinking in length but expanding in implication."

"Old habits were falling away. There was no need for privacy and the light now had become a property of value, a thing that traded in the currency of life rather than death. It seemed an affront to want to keep it out, so the curtains stayed open." ( )
  bookworm12 | Feb 2, 2015 |
Zoe and Jake are on a skiing trip. Both are experienced skiers and are having a great time on the slopes when an avalanche over takes them. Jake pulls Zoe out of the snow and they make their way back to the resort. It is deserted. They go into town and it is deserted too. They panic and fear the area was evacuated because of the potential of more avalanches. When they try to leave the village every road leads back to the same village. Zoe and Jake are stuck in an enchanted snow filled wonderland and they feel as though something or someone is coming for them.

This was quite the page turner. In the back of my mind I was saying "they are dead" but I kept on reading thinking I had already solved the mystery. Then half way through the book they come to the same conclusion so you know there is something more going on.

Even if you figure out the mystery before the conclusion that doesn't matter. What makes this such a great read are the characters and how much they love each other. That's what the real story is in this novel, two people who love each other so much they can't let each other go. ( )
  craso | Jan 8, 2015 |
This is all quite familiar territory - a couple are on holiday skiing in the French Pyrenees and are caught up in an avalanche. They manage to extricate themselves, but when they return to their hotel, everywhere is deserted and natural processes seem to have stopped. It's not too hard to guess what's going on here, and of course we are right. As the days go by, the couple find they are unable to leave the resort village and the hotel, and it slowly dawns on them just why this is. As Douglas Adams once said, "It's not so much an afterlife, more an aprés-vie."

Others who have reviewed this book have expressed themselves disappointed, because it's clichéd, or because they didn't get the level of suspense they'd been led to expect, or the horror/supernatural elements in the story were muted. Well, perhaps some of that was the fault of the publishers, packaging the book for a certain audience. And perhaps Joyce was writing the book with an entirely different objective in mind.

The characters are fairly typical British thirty-somethings, and seem quite well-drawn to me. (Yes, readers - I said well-drawn. I've met plenty of people not unlike this couple.) And their predicament is contrasted with other instances of loss in each of their lives - the loss of parents, of colleagues, or of pets. I had the feeling that much of this drew on experiences that Joyce had heard related from others, because the reactions of these ancillary characters seemed all too human.

The visions that Zoe, the female character, experiences are unsettling, and as they become more and more personal they get more chilling, despite - or possibly because - of their simplicity.

Perhaps I'm reading more into this book than others, because I read it just two weeks after Joyce's own death at the terribly early age of 59; and because I knew the author from many years ago and so have always followed his career with interest. For me, this was a poignant read, yet the sense of acceptance and working through of the emotions about love and loss was very real. Graham's last blog post was on these subjects (http://www.grahamjoyce.co.uk/?p=409), and having read that, I am sure I saw a precursor of it in The Silent Land. ( )
  RobertDay | Sep 29, 2014 |
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Graham Joyceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
She almost thought she could die in that place, and happily...

Zoe and Jake are caught in an avalanche during a skiing holiday in the French Pyrenees. They struggle back to their village only to find it deserted. As the days go by, they wait for rescue, they try to leave. But each time they find themselves back in the village, with the entire resort to themselves.

Then come the visions and the dreams, and the glimpses of familiar figures out in the snow.

And the realization that perhaps no one could have survived the avalanche...

The Silent Land is a brooding and tender look at love and whether it can survive the greatest challenge we will ever face.

Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385533802, Hardcover)

Award-winning novelist and cult favorite Graham Joyce transports readers to a mysterious world of isolation and fear with a hypnotically dark story about a young couple trapped by an avalanche in the remote French Pyrenees. . . a daring and powerful novel about love, loss, and rebirth.

In the French Pyrenees, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, Jake and Zoe dig their way out from under the snow—only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. An evacuation as sudden and thorough as this leaves Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone. They are trapped by the storm, completely isolated, with another catastrophic avalanche threatening to bury them alive . . . again. And as the couple begin to witness unset­tling events neither one can ignore, they are forced to con­front a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit.

Award-winning author Graham Joyce has written a mysteri­ous masterpiece, a tour de force that will thrill fans of Peter Straub and the hit television show Lost.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Buried under a flash avalanche while skiing, young married couple Jake and Zoe miraculously dig their way out only to discover themselves alone in an eerily silent, evacuated region and unable to contact the outside world.

(summary from another edition)

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