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The Silent Land Paperback – 10 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Gollancz (10 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0575083875
  • ISBN-13: 978-0575083875
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 66,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"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. . . . " --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The haunting new literary fantasy from the World Fantasy Award winning author of MEMOIRS OF A MASTER FORGER, now available in mass market paperback.

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Kim Slater on 29 Nov. 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Silent Land
Zoe and Jake are on a skiing holiday and survive an avalanche whilst out on the slopes. When they emerge from the snow, the resort is completely deserted....
I started reading The Silent Land just as the first thick blanket of snow fell here which felt weirdly like the story was seeping into real life! But the writing is so good that even if it had been the middle of summer, the characters and story would have been alive and kicking in between reads.
I felt the narrative was unique in that it appeared to have relentless pace and tension, yet the story alternated between slow swathes of time where Zoe and Jake seemed to have all the time in the world to enjoy their surroundings to sudden key strange happenings and shifts in their environment and concepts of reality and time. Throughout it all Joyce's enviable storytelling skills somehow make it all so believable.
His language is poetic and wonderfully descriptive, such that although I have never been skiing, I could imagine perfectly the beauty and appeal of the setting. His portrayal of Zoe and Jake's love is so touching and effective, without ever becoming sentimental.
The Silent Land is above love, loss and the way we choose to live our lives. Joyce manages to touch the reader on a level where you start to think about your own life and values. The story and characters stay firmly in the reader's mind after it is finished, leaving you to interpret and mull over the gripping final scenes repeatedly. I really did not want it to get to the final page and would thoroughly recommend the book without reservation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Burning Amnesia on 30 Mar. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Silent Land gets a straight up three for the premise and the premise alone.

Having thought about it, this would have been much better served as a short story. As it was there was simply too much padding throughout and pages and pages of the main characters performing the most mundane of tasks, which were in no shape or form even necessary to the plot.

Joyce also seemed to have problems with dialogue, it was way too choppy; alternating between formal and informal with no real consistency.

There also wasn't a lot to the central characters themselves - they read like ciphers with no real personality coming through at all. In fact the only two memorable characters in the whole book were featured in flashbacks. Jake's dad story was especially moving.

However, what I really disliked about the book was the sex scenes. I'm far from a prude, but they were very awkwardly written, out of place, and felt more like an adolescent teenage boy fantasy than anything else.

Thinking about it more, The Silent Land had the same issues that I had with The Tooth Fairy; there are some wonderfully crafted scenes, complete with an sublimely eerie atmosphere - but they aren't linked together very well, or just fizzle out with no real outcome.

It also didn't help that I worked out what was actually happening very early on.

I did like it. It just could have been so very much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A.J. Waters on 12 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I literally, just today, started/finished this book! My God! Soooooooooo triumphant! As a HUGE fan of Graham Joyce as it is, I picked up this book with great optimism (having already read 'The Storm Watcher' and 'The Tooth Fairy') and was transfixed to it. I love how we can set the scene without droning on just to fill pages like so many other authors do. I won't mention who these people are, but if you're an avid reader like myself, you know who I'm talking about (and more importantly, we know where they live...). And all the way through I felt so connected to the characters and even though there were very few, that only made me love them more. Whenever the scene turned for the worst I actually felt myself scared for the characters and then found myself relieved with my heart racing when they would turn out to be okay after a two or three pages of what I thought would be instant peril, and this was just in the opening chapters.
When reading a Graham Joyce novel, he makes you feel for the characters so much that you actually feel like you're one of them. You literally fall in love and pray for everything to be okay.
The pace of this story too is fantastic! It keeps you guessing all the way to then end and even after you've finished reading! A part of me wants to pick it up again so upon a second glance I can pick up on little hints and such, but seriously, I don't think I could put myself through all that again, not for a while at least.

Seriously, I wish I could give this mother for than 5 stars! Just literary perfection! Graham, I tip my hat to you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By neverendings on 17 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Zoe and Jake are trapped in an avalanche while on a skiing holiday, but somehow manage to escape. Or do they? They find their hotel and the local village both deserted and the phone lines dead, but when they try to venture further afield for help, they keep finding themselves back where they began. A waiting game begins, while they try to work out what has happened, or - perhaps more importantly - what will happen next...

Joyce has an unpretentious prose style that is easy to read, and a gift for both characterisation and evocation of place which I hoped might lift a storyline that otherwise held little appeal for me. Having read the back cover synopsis, one knows to expect a slightly hackneyed scenario to play out, and - aside from the sarcastic banter - it really does have the deja vu feel of watching a Sunday afternoon movie you have seen too many times before. One must be of a certain mindset(/generation?) to find the characters' banter entertaining, and I did find it somewhat grating. I was simply waiting for the story to move on and find out if we would ever know why, in this particular instance, the scenario was taking place.

I was in fact slightly shocked when, a little pseudo-philosophising and a lot of schmaltz later I found that there were no surprises to unfold in this story. The characters retained a ghostly lack of solidity and believability, despite their constant back and forth of conversation; and what began as a cliché, continued and ended as a cliché.
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