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Customer Review

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A haunting and lyrical evocation of war-time Romania, 6 July 2012
This review is from: Painter of Silence (Kindle Edition)
Set in Romania in the aftermath of the Second World War and with the country under communist rule, this is a book which tells a harsh and sometimes bleak story in lyrical, quiet prose.

Safta and Augustin, the deaf-mute painter of the title, are brought up together as children, she the daughter of the house, he the cook's son. The book follows a dual narrative of the past in the run-up to, and course of, the war; and the present set in the 1950s when Safta and Augustin re-meet.

This isn't a busy, page-turning, action-filled novel - it's muted and restrained and depicts both its horrors and its evocation of a lost, golden past in an understated way. Almost the whole of the book is `told' to us rather than shown, so there is very little direct speech throughout the novel - perhaps itself a comment on the silent world of Augustin - and it took me a little while to settle into the rhythm of the book. Once settled, however, the prose becomes almost mesmeric in its ability to draw the reader in and keep her captured. I liked that this doesn't follow a conventional romance narrative, the relationships are far more subtle and nuanced than that.

Relatively recent changes in Europe have opened up viewpoints of the war, allowing us to experience it from Eastern rather than just a Western European perspective: if you enjoyed this, then you might also like The Beautiful Truth which engages with the Polish war experience, also told in beautifully lyrical and moving prose.
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