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The Seduction of Silence Paperback – 1 Mar 2004

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 414 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (Mar. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060573686
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060573683
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,666,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

."..a glorious mlange of family saga, social commentary, and treatise on spirituality." -- Booklist

A lovely. ambitious novel .Le Hunte threads events together with a confident, steady hand.." -- Washington Post

"There is real enchantment here...[in] prose as vivid and arresting as a marigold. I couldn't put it down."--Geraldine Brooks, author of Year of Wonders and Nine Parts of Desire

"Passionate prose, which although lacking the mad pyrotechnics of Rushdie's wordplay, is nonetheless just as intense."--Melbourne Age

"Le Hunte and her book, The Seduction of Silence, have all the ingredients for success."--The Bulletin (Australia)

A lovely... ambitious novel ...Le Hunte threads events together with a confident, steady hand...."--Washington Post

"Le Hunte creates a vivid sense of place, spiking it with strange and haunting characters."--Adelaide Advertiser

"A splendidly conceived saga...: vivid, compelling, utterly fascinating."--Kirkus Reviews

"Terrific one-liners and skillful foreshadowing make for a great read. "--San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

."..a glorious m?lange of family saga, social commentary, and treatise on spirituality."--Booklist

"The Seduction of Silence is a work of persuasive imagination...such scope, power and narrative charm...ample and fascinating."--Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List

"An unexpected delight... [Le Hunte] gives new meaning to the search for spiritual fulfillment."--Lalita Tademy, author of Oprah Book Club selection Cane River

..".a glorious m?lange of family saga, social commentary, and treatise on spirituality."--Booklist

About the Author

Bem Le Hunte was born in Calcutta to an Indian mother and British father. She grew up in India and London, studied anthropology at Cambridge, and worked as a university lecturer and copywriter before moving to the Himalayas to have a baby and write this book. She now lives in California with her husband and two sons.

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 30 Jun. 2003
Format: Hardcover
A beautiful multi-generational saga. Written in a very gentle and touching way. Bem Le Hunte weaves together reincarnation, reconciliation, acceptance of spiritual and cultural identity, and the discovery of one's true path. She is using Hindi terms freely into the dialogues but it isn't a problem even for not hindi-speaking readers. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is (or is not) attracted by India and its mystery and beauty.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book takes you on a journey, through generations, through India. It is beautifully written poetic, making the reader want to return to or visit India, it took me through a variety of emotions, I could not put the book down.
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of the all-time greatest ever written. Truly touches the soul.

It follows three generations of an Indian family from the ayurvedic, Hindu lands of India to a Spiritualist church in London. Hugely sad, funny, profound and intriguing. Unpretentious and beautiful to read.

Worth every penny. One of those rare books that I know I will always have a place for on my bookshelf.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A beautiful multi-generational saga. Written in a very gentle and touching way. Bem Le Hunte weaves together reincarnation, reconciliation, acceptance of spiritual and cultural identity, and the discovery of one's true path. She uses Hindi terms freely into the dialogues but it isn't a problem even for not hindi-speaking readers. I highly recommend this book to everyone who is (or is not) attracted by India and its mystery and beauty.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x8e59618c) out of 5 stars 10 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e50e114) out of 5 stars Uplifting and enlightening 13 Jan. 2003
By Gabrielle Benefield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This book is so beautifully written and I was incredibly inspired after reading it. If you love writers such as Isabel Allende, Coelho, or anything that really explores the depths of human experience along with travel, mystery and adventure then you will truly love this read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e50e120) out of 5 stars The Seduction of Fairy Tales 24 Feb. 2003
By Richard Wells - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"The Seduction of Silence," is an easy book to read, quite involving, and 2/3's good. As you've read, it's a multigenerational saga, and though the author distances herself from the Indian slant, it is, through and through, a novel of India.
Bem Le Hunte places her story in rural India - the villages of the Himalayan region - and in that aspect as well as in the gentleness of the spirituality portrayed, it's unlike the seething urban dramas we've gotten used to. It's also quite connected to the "Ramayana," and a reader who knows that story will find many parallels in the wanderings of Aakash and Ram with Ram, Sita, and Lakshman. The primary spiritual lesson is "god will provide," and in this story god does provide - through thick and thin.
Ms. Le Hunte has a good feel for class, caste, character, and Hindu cosmology and though the novel is a bit on the "fairy tale" side I found the reality to be grounded enough to keep the story on track. She runs into difficulty when the venue shifts from village India to the hippie London of the 1960's. Her grasp of the milieu seems much less sure, and the story seems to suffer for being rushed; and though she provides us with a touching conclusion, it's a little too "deus ex machina," to be completely sasifying.
Even so, I recommend this book for its understanding of how the myths play out in daily life, and for an entertaining read.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f3c5e28) out of 5 stars Five generations of social commentary 6 Aug. 2003
By Peggy Vincent - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
The thread of a search for spirituality wends its way through The Seduction of Silence, India-born Bem Le Hunte's lovely book that spans the years of English influence in India. The writing in this book is as glorious as the background upon which it is based. There is a mystical quality in both the story and the prose that is not unusual in the works of Indian authors, but Le Hunte, now based in Sydney, Australia, seems to have her feet planted in Western reality even as she wiggles her toes in Eastern philosophy. Her story deals with five generations within a family, couplings that are sure to end in disaster when East meets West through intermarriage.
A social commentary within a novel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8e58e18c) out of 5 stars Excellent first novel, excellent novel period 15 Jan. 2003
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I am always delighted in finding new fiction that is both entertaining and that it gives the reader several views of culturally rich characters and location.
After hearing Bem le Hunte read and share some excerpts from the book I am eagerly awaiting her second novel and I am recommending
The Seduction of Silence to many of my friends.
The combination of an almost perfect character, an inperfect wife, the trials of their offsprings and the beautiful setting in which the story develops make this book a favorite that has been well received abroad and finally comes to the US.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x8f87ab5c) out of 5 stars Pleasant enough story with memorable characters 28 April 2003
By D. Cloyce Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
"The Seduction of Silence" portrays five generations of an Indian family and their search for spiritual enlightenment and domestic happiness. Although the novel opens (and, in a sense, closes) with Aakash, the family patriarch, the story focuses on the women--their occasional happiness, their common misery, and their fate. Aakash's wife, Jyoti Ma, begins a tradition that repeats itself with each generation: through selfishness and pride and naivete, she drives the members of her family away. This theme continues with her daughter, Tulsi Devi, granddaughter, Rohini, and great-granddaughter, Saakshi. With each generation, too, the men are basically absent: they either leave the family in search of mystical awakening or become aloof or tyrannical husbands who alienate their children.
The first part of the novel, set in a Himalayan Eden, reads like an allegory, in prose reminiscent of magic realism. As the story progresses, however, and the setting changes to Delhi and then to London, the tone gradually becomes less magical and more realist. The effectiveness of this technique is decidedly mixed, especially because the novel is fairly short for a multi-generational epic. The first section works in spite of its brevity; the "fairy tale" of Aakash and Jyoti Ma and their children is enchanting without being sentimental. But, once the family moves to the squalor and the bustle of India and England urban centers, the story feels rushed, the details seem random, and the author allows increasingly less time for the reader to "get to know" the members of each succeeding generation. Furthermore, the melodramatic (and somewhat expected) climax, which briefly recalls the fairy-tale imagery of the first part of the novel, is too forced to be remotely believable.
Through it all, each generation seeks comfort in different beliefs, from Hindu mysticism to 1960's hippie culture to Anglo-American spiritualism to yoga meditation. The philosophical motif that links each generation's seeking (the oft-repeated phrase "everything happens for a reason") is a bit corny--particularly because it`s never clear what the reason is--but since the characters (and the author) skeptically disparage each other`s beliefs (there's even a mocking reference to the "Arthur Conan Doyle Room" for seances), the story avoids being preachy.
The "Seduction of Silence," then, is far too simple and (even at 400 pages) brief for the many complex themes it tackles. Still, Le Hunte has written a captivating and pleasant debut effort that ultimately succeeds because of its involving story and all-too-human characters.
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