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AFTER LONG SILENCE Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1987

4.1 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Gigantic crystal formations tower over the landscape of the planet Jubal, inspiring awe in the Tripsingers and Explorers who have made these "Presences" their lives' work and hatred in the corporations who seek their destruction. Against a backdrop of startling alien beauty, Tepper tells a story of human perseverance for truth in the face of bureaucratic blindness and religious fanaticism. Highly recommended. JC
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam Spectra (November 1, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553269445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553269444
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,453,248 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Helene Hoffman on December 1, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Like Helen Fremont, my parents are also Jewish Holocaust Survivors. However, unlike her, my parents never hid their past. Even with our differences, she does a remarkable job of showing something most children of survivors have in common - how truly difficult it is to "ask" our parents about their past; I label it "a difficult dance" - we, as their children, feel we must know about their past, but we don't want to hurt them by making them spill their guts about the utter inhumantiy they lived through. This is a difficult topic to capture, but Fremont did it magnificently. I also felt tremendous sympathy for her. I truly understand how she felt. The incredible "jolt" (and this is putting it mildly) when she learned her real identity is probably one of the hardest things she has ever had to live through. I hope that committing her story to paper, in the moving way that she did, will help her resolve her background. She should be commended for opening her life to the rest of us.
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Format: Unknown Binding
While I found this book confusing at first, as I persevered the story gradually crystalized. That's an appropriate way of putting it, as the book is set on a planet filled with lovely but fractile crystal structures that shatter, killing foot travellers. The trip singers have created soothing musical sounds to play to each structure, which allow passage. But are the singers commuicating with the crystals and are the crystals a new form of intelligent life? If so, planetary exploitation can be halted.
Tepper has a great imagination and creates believable situations that speak into our own time and lives as well.
I was ultimately caught up in the dilemma and found the conclusion immensely satisfying. Worth hanging on through the initially confusing stages, for the characters are ultimately well developed and the reader cares what happens to them.
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Format: Hardcover
As the son of a survivor, I read this book differently than most. I understand the author's parents need for silence. I also understand the destructiveness of it on the survivors and their children. Ms. Fremont has created a wonderful framework for the telling of HER story.
Those who read this just for the story of her parents are missing the point of writing the book. The silence of her parents - like many survivors of the Shoa - cannot be completely broken, so admittedly the author `fills in' or `imagines' details so painful that her parents are unable or unwilling to remember.
This novel is an exploration into the author's movement OUT OF SILENCE. She skillfully represents this personal growth by sharing with the reader her journey into her family's and her own past. It is during this journey as she questions why her parents kept so silent that she puts herself to the ultimate test and breaks her own conspiracy of silence to her parents and family about her sexual orientation. Bravely she works to stop all the silences of her family - silence of Shoa experiences, silences of avoiding one's true identity - so that they may no longer live in the shadow that silence casts.
The book is to be applauded as a journey to self truth. A journey we are always on and must always work at.
Read the book as a tool to remove your own silences.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Vintage Tepper. And a lovely piece of work it is.

Jubal, a planet in the process of colonization by humans, is a world full of strange and wonderful things, some amusing, some dangerous. The Presences, large crystalline structures scattered throughout the land, are dangerous, and they are everywhere, preventing easy travel between settlements. They can be passed only with the aid of a Tripsinger, a trained vocalist and musician who accompanies a group of travelers and, in essence, sings the party past the fragile crystal mountains. Each structure requires a different song; the song seems to set up some sort of counter-resonance peculiar to the individual structure that prevents the crystal from fracturing due to the vibrations made by the mules, wagons, and humans as they pass. Even one wrong note could cause a potentially fatal shatter. One structure, called Enigma, has thus far proven impassable: no one has discovered the proper song which will allow safe passage. Except, perhaps, one person.

And then there are those who want to see the Presences destroyed because they hinder free trade and easy commerce. A strange cult which worships the Presences has also arisen. Amid much intra-planetary politics, money grubbing, and, umm, a few alluded-to deviant sex games, the fates of Jubal and the Presences will be decided.

In this early novel, Tepper establishes some of her touchstone themes which she continues to develop in her later work: responsible use of natural resources; religious fanaticism; tolerance of differences; human (and non-human) rights.

Tepper's vivid imagination stands her in good stead here. As a trained vocalist myself, I was intrigued by the notion of literally singing for one's life.
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Format: Hardcover
Helen Fremont writes of her struggles uncovering the truth about her family and their past. Raised as a Roman Catholic, she finds out in her thirties that she is actually Jewish. Armed with this knowledge, she, with some help from her sister, begin to look for answers to her family's past. The story that unfolds is remarkable. She finds out how her parents and aunt survived during World War II and how they eventually came to America. But, unfortunately there are many loose ends and holes in the story...information no one would tell her and that she could not find out on her own. Because of this, the book, though riveting, leaves the reader hanging, wanting more facts. One can only hope that Fremont will eventually find out more and be able to write a sequel, to complete her story. This is not just a story of survival, but of the will to live and go on. All in all a good book, proving the adage: Truth is stranger than fiction.
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