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Could have been so much more.
on 30 March 2013
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.