The Seduction of Silence Paperback – 1 Mar 2004
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."..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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
A social commentary within a novel.
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.
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.