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AFTER LONG SILENCE Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 1987

4.1 out of 5 stars 125 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.

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 (125 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,499,350 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
1 Comment 18 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I eagerly read this for the first half, even the first three quarters, then it turned increasingly dissatisfying, and now I am left feeling really dirty for having read it. Because as the story came to a close it became more and more apparent that the real heroes of the book, the author's mother and her aunt, did not want the public as voyeurs of their history of personal struggles. The author shared it even though it is clear to anyone that they certainly didn't want it told to the world. I'm embarrassed that I read it, knowing they would rather I hadn't. I think Helen Fremont writes well but something is seriously morally lacking in her. She has a huge honor void. You would think after learning all that about her family that profound respect would prevent her from dishonoring their wishes.

Zosia's tirade against the author is telling. At first I was as shocked as the author must have been, but as it sunk in I realized how much truth there was in her outrage. Clearly, the truth never sunk in for Fremont. The worldly success of having a book published mattered more than respecting her own family. I feel sorry for Fremont. At the end of her life, will she wish she had honored her parents, or published a book? I say she will be sorry. She failed where it mattered. At the moral crossroads, she took the low road.

I understand her wanting to understand her past. I would have understood more if she at least put the book aside and published it after her parents and aunt's death. I feel sorry that her aunt, particularly, after all the hardship she endured, could not live out her days as she chose, her secrets intact.

I have a curious mind myself and this book has been a real lesson for me.
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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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