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The Silence of Trees [Kindle Edition]

Valya Dudycz Lupescu
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (272 customer reviews)

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Book Description

In Chicago's Ukrainian Village, Nadya Lysenko has built her life on a foundation of secrets. When she was sixteen, Nadya snuck out of her house in Western Ukraine to meet a fortuneteller in the woods. She never expected it to be the last time she would see her family. Decades later, Nadya continues to be haunted by the death of her parents and sisters. The myths and magic of her childhood are still a part of her reality: dreams unite friends across time and space, house spirits misplace keys and glasses, and a fortuneteller's cards predict the future. Nadya's beloved dead insist on being heard through dreams and whispers in the night. They want the truth to come out. Nadya needs to face her past and confront the secrets she buried--in The Silence of Trees.


Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is a writer and the founding editor of CONCLAVE: A Journal of Character. Born and raised in Chicago, she received her degree in English at DePaul University and earned her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (where she began working on The Silence of Trees). Her novel, The Silence of Trees, was selected as a Semifinalist in the 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. She occasionally teaches workshops around Chicago and online, and helps to facilitate a monthly gathering of writers and artists. For the last seven years, she and her husband, along with their three children, have been dividing their time between the United States and Germany. They currently reside in Chicago. Visit her website at: www.vdlupescu.com

Product Details

  • File Size: 413 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0982126131
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Wolfsword Press (January 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004HO65M2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,553 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
299 of 305 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Nearly three years ago, I read the first 5000 words of this story for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards. Ms. Lupescu left me in a Ukranian forest full of German soldiers bent on rape with sixteen year old Nadya seeking her fortune from a clan of gypsies.

I've wondered what happened ever since. I bought "The Silence of Trees" as soon as the book was available via Amazon and even paid extra for second day delivery. I sat down with the book and a cup of tea expecting to finish in one sitting.

Normally, I'm a serial devourer of books, but "The Silence of Trees" was entirely too rich for that. I paused at 75 pages and dreamed that night of the gypsy camp. Music, counterpointed by the jangle of tambourines rang in my ears. I even saw the raven-haired dancer clad in red and gold.

I followed Nadya through fifty years of her life, learning what it was like to lose family during World War II, to live in a German work camp, and to finally immigrate to a new land where you do not speak the language and begin anew. Each step is full of the same vivid detail as the initial scenes. Nadya and her family grow and become as real as next-door neighbors.

Ms. Lupescu's prose truly is the stuff that dreams are made of. The narrative voice of her protagonist Nadya remains strong throughout nearly fifty years of her life. You can almost taste the kolachi and feel the willow switches on your backside on Palm Sunday. The best of literature transports you to places you have never been. While some of the locales of "Silence" are places you may not have wished to be, there's heart and hope in every page.

Rebecca Kyle, October 2010
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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having not known much about the history of the Ukrainian people during the second World War, reading this story was like taking a walk in the shoes of the narrator, 70 year-old Nadya Lysenko, and reliving her heart-wrenching experiences during this turbulent and hellish time. We feel her intense and conflicting feelings towards her first love Stephan, her deep guilt and confusion over a simple decision to leave the house one night to visit a fortune-telling gypsy, and her survivor's guilt when so many around her perish, and she manages not only to survive, but thrive. Decisions she makes in an attempt to survive her ordeal come back to haunt her later during her relatively normal life in the U.S. after the war. Lupescue successfully weaves the tale from the past to the present, and the reader slowly becomes aware of all Nadya is holding inside and keeping from her children, grandchildren and even her husband. The reader feels the pressure and pain of bearing so many secrets and begins to understand why the generation who lived through this travesty may not care to discuss their past.

I highly recommend this novel to anyone who wants to learn about another culture and experience history in an up-close and personal manner. The poetic nature of the novel, the use of trees and nature as symbols, the folkloric and superstitious manner the narrator uses to describe her memories all blend together to make this a rich novel worthy of a second reading or discussion by a reading group or history class. I think the book would be a great accompaniment to a college international studies course, especially one that focuses on eastern Europe. Like the pysanky egg, the book has layers and details that all come together beautifully in the end.
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting Novel October 2, 2010
By sandy
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I loved the book "The Silence of the Trees". I am a Ukrainian American and in reading this book I alternated in relating to Nadya's life & her daughter Katya. I could not put the book down & I was disappointed when the story ended.... I wanted more. I spent a whole day reading only stopping to have lunch & dinner. I can't wait to have more of my friends read it so I can discuss the book with them.
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow -- for my taste July 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is beautifully written and I liked the detail the author paid to describing the family traditions and folk beliefs of the main character, Nadya, since I have an interest in folklore. She also painstakingly describes Nadya's emotions and thoughts, and I liked the ending. I've never been a huge fan of the 'character-driven plot,' though, so I found the pace distracting. That is simply a matter of taste, not a reflection on the quality of the book. If you like books that allow you to thoroughly explore the emotions of a character, you will probably love this book.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I just had to review this book! August 10, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I've read many great books but never felt like I discovered one. I'm not sure how I came across this book but I wish I could repeat whatever I did. What a wonderful, beautifully told and educational story. What I know of WWII consists mostly of Holocaust or stories from the American perspective. This was really interesting because it was from the perspective of a Ukranian woman... It was also a woman's story, and a cultural study. I loved the folktales and discussions of family traditions. To top it off, it is beautifully written. I couldn't put it down. Why this book didn't make the best seller list baffles me! It's a tragedy that it has been so overlooked.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Time Well Spent to Read September 29, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have never been so glad that Amazon puts forth a series of recommendations for site users. This novel came to my attention because of its appearance on that list and I am so thankful. It has been a very long time since a novel impacted my emotions with such force. I actually found myself crying at several different junctures of the protagonist's life.

As others have stated, the book is the story of Nadia Lysenko and her journey from that of a teen wanting her fortune told to a grandmother who must face her demons to be truly happy. The book weaves almost seamlessly from the past to the present and back to the past on multiple occasions. It's not at all difficult for the reader to easily make these transitions because this book is so well written.

The Silence of Trees leaves me with the feeling that this author has given us all a gift by sharing her talent. The novel succeeds on so many different levels. There is not only an amazing story, it is intertwined with folklore from the Ukrainian culture that adds to the story's enrichment and character development.

I have spent far more money on novels that I enjoyed a great deal less. This book is a prime example that the cost of a novel shouldn't be considered proportional to whether or not the content is worth the time to read. I have no hesitation in recommending this book to any woman. I'm not sure the male gender would embrace it as wholeheartedly because the story is told from the perspective of a woman but won't deny the possibility exists that I could be wrong about that. All I can say for sure is that the memory of the story will always stay with me.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars So Very Lovely!
This story was thought-provoking. The traditions, rituals if you will, were so beautiful! The evil that was used against Nadya, her family, friends, and, all of the innocent... Read more
Published 18 days ago by cindy petrozziello
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting cultural adventure of what one leaves behind in ...
An interesting cultural adventure of what one leaves behind in the time of war, and what holds onto when emigrating to a foreign land.
Published 18 days ago by Annair
5.0 out of 5 stars Five thumbs up!
the characters are richly detailed and eminently believable. I identified very strongly with the main character, Nadia. Read more
Published 19 days ago by marla tarter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This is a wonderful read. Heartfelt and poetic. I highly suggest it!
Published 23 days ago by Michelle Skau
5.0 out of 5 stars It is a beautiful, heart rending
This book held my full attention from the first page! It is a beautiful, heart rending, and amazing story.
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars mesmerising
A charming book built from memories of grief and sorrow, but transmuted to happiness through the sands of time and the appreciation of love and family ties. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Vivien
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT!
A very good story with history, heartache, mystery and love!!! I love how the author incorporated the Ukranian folklore as well!!
Published 2 months ago by foohtmooht
2.0 out of 5 stars Not for me
I feel bad I can't give this a good review...but I just could not stay with it.
Published 2 months ago by Tennessee9
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Kindle version
Published 3 months ago by Louise
5.0 out of 5 stars Wanted to keep reading
I really enjoyed reading this story. The characters were well developed. I enjoyed learning about the Ukrainian culture and felt close to the main character even though she is... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Connye
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More About the Author

Valya Dudycz Lupescu is the author of The Silence of Trees and founding editor of Conclave: A Journal of Character. Her poetry and prose have been published in Sentence, Danse Macabre, Fickle Muses, Abyss & Apex, The Pedestal Magazine, Gone Lawn, Jersey Devil, Doorknobs & Bodypaint, and other places. Valya is represented by Sara Crowe at Harvey Klinger, Inc.

Born and raised in Chicago, Valya received her degree in English at DePaul University. She then earned her MFA in Writing as part of the inaugural class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since earning her MFA, Valya has worked as a college professor, obituary writer, content manager, goth cocktail waitress, and co-producer of an independent feature film.

Her first comic book, Sticks & Bones, created with artist Madeline C. Matz, was successfully crowdfunded via kickstarter. They are now working on the next three issues to be published by First Comics. Valya occasionally teaches workshops around the city and online, and she facilitates a monthly gathering of writers and artists in Chicago.

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How did you hear about The Silence of Trees?
Congratulations on being on top! My family is also Ukrainian and I have a lot of information about Ukraine in my book The Night Sky: A Journey from Dachau to Denver and Back, by Maria Sutton
Dec 26, 2011 by Maria Sutton |  See all 6 posts
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