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40 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic read!
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...
Published on 29 Nov. 2010 by Kim Slater

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been so much more.
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...
Published on 30 Mar. 2013 by Burning Amnesia


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing read., 7 April 2013
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
I found the story interesting and the characters believable. This was key to the success of the book overall. There are some beautiful descriptions and the writer prompts some of the big questions in life (or death) throughout the book. It's a quick read that flows well. I finished the book feeling satisfied, but not patronised.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended read., 28 July 2013
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Kindle Edition)
Very well-written and intelligently played out. The dialogue crackles with wit and energy throughout and by the end it will leave you with a lump in your throat the size of a football. I can see why Hollywood are knocking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eerie and Atmospheric, 14 Aug. 2011
By 
Mrs. C. Colbert (Blackburn, Lancashire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
The one word that describes this book is `eerie'. The atmosphere, the situation the two people find themselves in, the deserted town and the visions that seemingly only Zoe can see are haunting and mysterious.

They try to drive out of town but the car breaks down, they try to walk away but end up on the same road that brings them back to the town, they ski over the mountain but, again, they find themselves back to the same familiar buildings.

"It's almost like something is keeping us here in this village." Zoe said, looking around her. "Like something doesn't want to let us go."

Zoe and Jake are a happily married couple who have been together for 10 years and their love for each other is apparent in the tender way they watch out for each other, constantly reassuring each other that everything will be okay, while keeping their thoughts to themselves that it may not be.

They can walk into any of the shops and take whatever they want, including designer shoes and clothes but there seems little point when there's no-one to show off to.

Candles don't burn down, food stays fresh, Zoe has the same recurring vision of the hotel lobby full of people but when she looks again they're gone, they felt as though they'd been living there for weeks but it was only a couple of days ...... what and where is this place?

I was totally immersed in the story of this young couple who are desperate to know what's happening but are powerless to do anything, and I felt such sympathy and desperation for them I really wanted there to be a happy ending.

There are just a handful of books I've read that have stayed with me long after I've moved on and I think that this will be one of them.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and atmospheric, 29 Jan. 2012
By 
Ann Fairweather (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Kindle Edition)
Reading other reviewers being picky about this'n that, I am a little surprised to read here that 'it's too slow' (??)or that it is not well-written enough etc...Obviously not the book you would pick-up if you wanted to read grand literature, nethertheless I found it well written enough to pleasantly carry me through the story, not so much thinking about style, but about what was taking place...I simply loved the premise of this young couple on a holiday break in the Pyrennees when they are suddenly engulfed in a avalanche. What follows is utterly disconcerting and riveting, and no, I never guessed what was coming (the revelation at the end) because all is very skifully orchestrated all along. I found it incredibly atmospheric, I could see the abandonned hotel, the snow slopes, the total isolation of the two protagonists, left behind to survive in a deserted world. This is a theme I like in literature and so far found two other books with that same theme but a very different treatment: 'Night Work' by Glavinic and 'Grand solo for Anton' by Rosendorfer. This one by Joyce is the one I prefer by far. There is a depth to the story that leaves one thoughtful and it is a very touching love story disguised as 'sci-fi'. I read it on a holiday where it proved to be a perfect, excellent holiday read indeed. Totally recommend it to anyone longing for the silence of the mountains and the snow...
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another superb book from this wonderful writer, 7 Dec. 2010
This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
The Silent Land is another superb book from Graham Joyce, the UK's most thought-provoking writer in the fantasy genre. The relationship between Zoe and Jake is full of love and humour but never sentimental - they cuss each other as often as they make love! What I love about Graham's fantasy writing is its ambivalence. The believer in the supernatural finds the wonderful imagination of the writer very satisfying, but for those of us who are non-believers, there is always a possible rational explanation available. And Graham never forces us to take one particular view.
If you've never read Graham Joyce, start with this book - you will soar with the ski-iers. For anyone who has loved The Tooth Fairy, The Facts of Life, Dark Sister, Dreamside, you will be well satisfied with this new one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One to pack for your ski trip?, 12 Jun. 2011
By 
Katharine Kirby "Kate" (HELSTON, Cornwall United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
Orion Books/Gollancz have fashioned a delightfully tactile, attractive and pleasurable reading experience with their almost retro, yet eco-friendly, hardback printing of `The Silent Land'. The way the satiny smooth cover sits comfortably in the hand will beat an electronic version into a cocked hat. The silky feel of the outer binding, printed in an evocative subtle glacial blue/white with the two silhouetted, emerging, white ski-ers is especially appropriate. Seen in a bookshop it would surely tempt you to pick it up.

The story too is blanketed and dreamy, like the snowstorm, with flurries of fresh flakes, terror of being lost in the avalanche, fear of heavy falls to come; the cut off mood of a small Pyrenean resort village is beautifully created. I imagine `The Silent Land' will give even more pleasure to those who have been on a ski ing holiday - I found it truly thrilling without that familiarity.

Zoe and Jake are out early, alone on the mountain, when Jake does something impulsive. What follows can only end in one way, and you think you know how, but there are surprises, adventures and marvellous sections of clever, thoughtful, haunting writing before the questions are answered. Dipping in an out of what makes sense and what doesn't, fantasy and everyday, is done with an original and masterly touch. Graham Joyce plays with his readers yet doesn't waste time. There is a sparklingly clever gem inserted that stayed with me - "Laisser sonner"...

However and there is a tiny `but', I was with Jake's father Peter on this; I didn't like the slick use of 'bad' language. Something about the pristine beauty and quiet atmosphere when made its first appearance, on page two, a bit extra shocking, wrong. I know some would expected in the circumstances but the use of what is perhaps now acceptable modern idiom in conversation jarred more than usual and felt unsuitable. I'm just giving a gentle warning should you be thinking of it for a maiden aunt! It made me like the couple less, which was a shame, as you need to be deep into their situation for the book to work its undoubted magic. They are a believable pair and their relationship is laid open in a credible way - we feel we know them and others like them already. Yet, as in a snowfield, there are unexpected depths.

Read in one long session it will stick in my mind for years. I can't wait to lend my lovely copy and recommend it with confidence. If you enjoyed it too you might like The Separation which is along a similar track - sort of fantasy/sci fi..
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars increases in creepiness, 20 Feb. 2012
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Kindle Edition)
i read this in two days. ever since i got my kindle ive found it easier not to skip to the end and wait to find out what happens. this is definitly a book that you shold not skip to the end of.
its amazing how good the story is, considering there are only two characters for most of it. at first it seems that, despite the circumstances of being in an abandoned town, the couple have rather an idyllic time. its only when strange things start happening, for example they can`t get out of town despite all their efforts and the food seems fresh for days after being left out, that they realise something is wrong.
i was gripped and read with an increasing sense of eeriness, especially when the wife kept seeing people and the husband didnt and most of the wife`s experiences were different from her husbands.
the ending is poignant and took me by surprise and i thought the author brought everything to a close extremely well.
im not very good at reviews but i would reccomend this book to everyone.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but flawed, 14 Jun. 2011
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
There is much to commend about this book, but it also has its problems - and most serious of these are found in the opening third. In fact I almost abandoned the book before my interest picked up and really rallied in the middle section. My difficulty with the initial set-up is that it's really rather slow and uninteresting - it's readily apparent to the reader (from having read the plot synopsis on the back cover if nothing else) what seems to be happening but Joyce takes us through the tedious negotiations of the main characters figuring out what their situation is (they can't leave the resort, all roads lead back to where they start) - familiar from numerous other books / films etc (the short story Willa from Stephen King's Just After Sunset covers very similar ground, to give one recent example, or John Carpenter's In the Mouth of Madness [DVD] [1995] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC], or just about any Silent Hill game). I couldn't help but feel that this section, which lasts about 100 pages was little more than filler to pad out the book. The other problem with the section is some fairly execrable dialog as Joyce introduces and fleshes out his characters: occasionally I felt something close to embarassment as I read it: "[It] would be, like, cool, as they say on MTV". It reads at times like a BBC sitcom aimed at a middle-aged audience, written by someone from different generation than that of his younger characters (Joyce also uses the sentence "He was living it large" - and not as part of character dialog. Ouch.)

However, this section gives way to a much more intriguing middle section where Joyce creates a genuine sense of mystery, with some great haunting imagery, which is punctuated by some very touching recollections of loss: these sections really gave the book an emotional charge for me (even if there was a slight sense of generational contortion in having a youngish character in an absolutely contemporary setting being fathered by a man who served as a commander in WWII). Finally, the resolution was for me also something of a letdown - a little bit too rote, or cliched perhaps, but with just enough emotional resonance to smooth over its staidness. Overall I would recommend, but with a few reservations - in parts genuinely moving, in others too formulaic and occasionally let down by some fairly indifferent rendering of character.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't fully deliver on its potential, 28 Mar. 2012
By 
John Tierney (Wirral, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Paperback)
This is the story of Zoe and Jake who are caught in a avalanche in the Pyrenees. After they manage to dig themselves out they return to the ski resort where they are staying only to find it deserted. As they explore their new environment, they are unable to contact the outside world or find anyone else. And as the story progresses, things become a bit stranger.

The early scenes in the book are pretty well done. The descriptions are vivid and the situation believable. And as the tale unfolds I was pretty wrapped up in what was going to happen. The problem I had was that the ending didn't provide a satisfactory conclusion for me. And that coloured my view of the whole book, hence the 3 stars. A decent ending would definitely have upped it to 4. I'm not giving anything away here - it's an ok read and not too demanding in terms of prose and length. I'd maybe read another of his, but wouldn't rush out based on this.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cue screenplay!, 28 Dec. 2010
By 
Mrs. B. A. Bostock "Bev Bostock" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Silent Land (Hardcover)
This book is a spooky tale of a couple who get caught in an avalanche on a skiing trip. After freeing themselves from the snow, they return to their holiday village to find it deserted. It seems that the whole place has been evacuated, possibly because of the threat of further avalanches. Unfortunately, these two people have been left behind. Initially they enjoy the pece and quiet and revel in being the only people around. After a while, though, they decide to attempt to leave themselves but each attempt is doomed to failure and they end up back where they started. Then, a series of strange events starts to unravel and they begin to wonder if all is not as it seems. An excellent read, this book is potentially being turned into a film and boy will it make a good one. Each time you think you've sussed it, something else happens to make you think again. The whole family has read the book and we have all really enjoyed it.
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The Silent Land
The Silent Land by Graham Joyce (Hardcover - 18 Nov. 2010)
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