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The Silent Land by Graham Joyce

The Silent Land (original 2010; edition 2012)

by Graham Joyce (Author)

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4254742,818 (3.67)47
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.
Title:The Silent Land
Authors:Graham Joyce (Author)
Info:Anchor (2012), Edition: Reprint, 272 pages

Work details

The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (2010)

Recently added byprivate library, Jaymeb, GillyBaggins, Bebela, Bibli0mane, carizinn, bradleyhorner, Stokerisking

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Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Can reading a book like this be considered walking (or skiing) a well-known path when it is, in fact, covered in snow?

White, delicious snow that bruises, locks-in, and blankets you in sweet, sweet comfort just before it kills you?

The answer? Yes. The nature of snow is still the nature of snow and the nature of this story, how well-worn, is still a thing of beauty.

So where am I going with all this? It's simple. It's atmosphere, baby. It's characters. It's going on vacation and finding that time and all other people in the world has gone away. It's about love... and the other thing. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
Waking up on a cold winter's morning, after a snowfall, and the streets are eerily quiet. Snowfall always seems to create an uneasy, sometimes sombre atmosphere, invading our structured world and our cosy existence. White snowy panoramic pictures have been used to great effect in the past in such bestsellers as The Shining by Stephen King, The Snowman by Jo Nesbo, Snowblind by Ragnar Jonasson (although all Nordic crime could probably be included) and not forgetting the excellent Snowblind by Michael McBride and the hauntingly alluring Travelling in a Strange Land by Irish author David Park.

The title "The Silent Land" by Graham Joyce instantly creates for the reader a bare and deserted landscape..."There wasn't a track anywhere to be seen in the light, powdery snow. The grey pregnant clouds loured above them, but there were blue smudges in the sky. A transforming power had breathed over the land and turned it into a perfect wedding cake"..... Into this wintry scene steps Zoe and Jake enjoying themselves on a skiing holiday in the French Pyrenees when an avalanche, the dread of all skiers and climbers, strikes without warning and buries our two adventurers. They survive but on returning back to the ski village they discover a place devoid of any human contact, seemingly deserted, and each time they attempt to walk/ski out, strangely, they always return back to the same starting point. As time passes, and the hope of any rescue seems to fade, both are troubled by visions and dreams and soon they come to the realization that perhaps no one actually survived the avalanche.

Graham Joyce has written a beautifully balanced tale of two lovers facing an uncertain future knowing that having cheated death they do in fact remain in a very precarious position. The author has ample time to explore the lives of Zoe and Jake and in particular I enjoyed the scene with Jake's father Peter suffering from bone cancer and cruelly beginning to lose his mind..."And yet now that he saw his father lying on the hospital bed he wanted to hug him. This father who suddenly, inexplicably and contrary to a lifetime of restraint had started swearing"......This short novel contains many surprises which thankfully I have not disclosed, a story that could and should be read in one sitting, preferably on a cold winters night with all doors securely locked and only a roaring log fire and a tumbler of hot whisky for company!....highly recommended ( )
1 vote runner56 | Oct 8, 2018 |
‘’Once I had a dream and in the dream I went to bed and fell asleep and was dreaming. And I knew I was dreaming inside a dream. Do you think it’s like that? Do you?’’

I’ve always thought that the winter landscape mirrored purity, tranquility, beauty. The white of the snow, the complete silence, the moon casting its beams creating a scenery that is otherworldly, almost unnaturally beautiful and mystifying. I feel more at peace with our universe when I find myself in the ‘’white’’ nature up in the mountains, where the coziness of the lodge competes with the primal beauty outside. The feelings that this unique novel by Graham Joyce created in me will be my company there from now on…

Zoe and Jake find themselves trapped when an avalanche comes their way in the French Pyrenees. When they return to the resort, they find it devoid of any human presence. All the objects are there but the hotel and the village seem to have frozen in time. Uninhabited and hostile...The candles don’t burn out, the food remains fresh even though it’s exposed, unprotected in the kitchen. Each time the couple attempts to leave, they find themselves back where they started. And the spiral of event and unexplained phenomena has merely started…

This is one of the most difficult books to review, because even the most innocent commentary may be enough to spoil the end. It is marvelously written, extremely well-composed and consistent from beginning to end. It may be placed under the paranormal genre but it would be wrong to look upon it under this light exclusively. This novel is an exploration of love, togetherness, companionship. The kind of love that is deep,mature and independent. It is also an exploration of the need and instinct to survive, to doubt and fight against what seems invincible, incomprehensible and terminate. All wrapped in a language that is poetic, strong, even razor sharp. Haunting, cold and above all, realistic.

Jake and Zoe are the only characters in this journey and my God, what a company they are! Extremely sympathetic, engaging and realistic. I could connect with them immediately and in their development lies the success and effect of the novel. I could feel their fear, their agony, the deep love for each other, their struggle to hold onto the moment. They were the driving force and in them I found two very memorable characters.

I shall have to leave you here, because I’m getting too close to the slope of spoilers. All I can say is that when you have a fairly unsentimental reader-that is, me:)- and after tons and tons of books, a novel manages to make this reader feel the warmth and the freezing of hearts in equal proportions, then you know that the writer did something right...A definite highlight of my reading year.

‘’But what was a moment? Spindrift on the back of a sunlit wave? A fox’s tail as it disappears through the hedgerow? A meteorite as it flares in the August night sky? Everything is ending or becoming. Zoe didn’t believe you could freeze a moment, or hold on to one.’’

My reviews can also be found on https://theopinionatedreaderblog.wordpress.com ( )
1 vote AmaliaGavea | Jul 15, 2018 |
I started out not really liking this book. The dialogue is sometimes so clunky that it's as if English isn't the writer's first language. My edition contains enough grammar and punctuation errors in the opening chapters that I stopped to see what company had published it (it's Anchor Books, a division of Random House).

Once I got a little deeper into the book, though, the story began to draw me in. It's probably a longer book than it needs to be (for a while it seems as if the two main characters do nothing but eat and ski), and I'd figured out the plot twist long before the final chapter, but I confess that the ending made me thoughtful. Would I read it again? No. Would I recommend it to others? Probably. ( )
  mrsmig | Jan 19, 2018 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Graham Joyceprimary authorall editionscalculated
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Folio SF (538)
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To Sue, rescuer
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It was snowing again.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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.

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