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The Sea and the Silence Kindle Edition

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Length: 265 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


"You think of yourself as a moderately well-read person. And then you come across a book so brilliant, so moving, so enchanting, by an author you had not even heard of, and your world is henceforth altered. You feel a bit like John Keats when he came across a translation of Homer that knocked him out:  "The I felt like some watcher of the skies / when a new planet swims into his ken". For me, that new planet is 'The Sea and the Silence' a new novel by Irish writer Peter Cunningham. The last 20 or so pages will hold you especially spellbound. You can sense what's going to happen but now how - and that, come to think of it, is the way it is with life itself. The end is inescapable: All of us eventually die. But what we do before that moment - whom we love, how we live - is the subject of this brutal, luminous, unforgettable book" - Pulitzer Prize Winning Author Julia Keller

"The Sea and The Silence is a terrific novel. Hugely moving". - Booker Prize Winning Author Roddy Doyle

"Peter Cunningham is a writer of great gifts" - Booker Prize Winning Author Barry Unsworth

" moving as it is skillfully told" - Sheena Davitt, Daily Mail

"Cannot come more highly recommended. Once started it must be finished, and once read, it must be re-read" - Susan Connolly, Sunday Business Post Prize

From the Author

Although the story begins in the 1940s, the themes of love and loss revolving in a great cartwheel of chance and fate are as relevant today as they were back then.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1451 KB
  • Print Length: 265 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Forest Wall Publishing; 2 edition (January 24, 2014)
  • Publication Date: January 24, 2014
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,430 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

PETER CUNNINGHAM is an award winning Irish novelist.

He is best known for the historical novels The Sea And The Silence, Tapes Of The River Delta, Consequences Of The Heart and Love In One Edition, which chronicle the lives of local families during the twentieth century, in Monument, the fictional version of Waterford in south-east Ireland, where Cunningham grew up. His novel, The Taoiseach, which was based on the life of former Irish Taoiseach (prime minister) Charles J. Haughey was a controversial bestseller. Capital Sins, a satirical novel, dealt with the collapse of the Irish economy during the financial crisis that began in 2008.

Cunningham's work has attracted a significant amount of critical attention and praise. The Sea And The Silence (translated into French as La Mer Et La Silence) was awarded the Prix de l'Europe in 2013. This novel was also short-listed for the Prix des Lecteurs du Telégramme and the Prix Caillou.

Consequences Of The Heart was short-listed for the Kerry Listowel Writer's Prize. In 2011 Cunningham won the Cecil Day Lewis Bursary Award.

His fiction is distinguished by its fusing of political material with psychological realism and a lyrical sensitivity to place and people.

Peter Cunningham is a member of Aosdána, (the Irish Academy for Arts and Letters). He has judged the Glen Dimplex Literary Awards and the Bantry Festival Writer's Prize.

Under the pseudonym Peter Wilben, he has published the Joe Grace mystery thrillers series which are available in ebook for Kindle.

He is married to Carol, a Jungian analyst, with whom he has six children. He lives in County Kildare, Ireland.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Valentine on July 3, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The genius of this clever little novel is in its structure. Cunningham was a positive genius to come up with this and, since reading it, I can't help but think how other novels I have loved could have been done in the same way. My only problem with the story was the formatting style. Instead of using traditional quotation marks, there was an em-dash preceding all bits of dialog but none following it. Thus, unless there was an attribution like "he said" or "she whispered" I was never really sure what was dialog and what was exposition. Because of this I spent the first couple of chapters struggling to adjust to the odd format style. I think readers would find the story more accessible without that.

The story begins in the 1970s when a solicitor is administering the will of the recently departed "Ismay", also known as "Iz", an English woman who lived most of her life in Ireland. The solicitor, who had nursed a quiet, life-long love for Iz, has two envelopes with the instruction to read them and then destroy them. The first one is labeled "Hector" the name of Ismay's son. The second is labeled "Iz".

In Hector we enter the world of Iz, Hector's mother, who is married to Ronnie, an upper-class ne'er-do-well, who lives in a lighthouse on the Irish coast. World War II is on and life is difficult. There are many struggles not the least of which is coping with the foolish choices of Ronnie when it comes to money, responsibility, and other women. Throughout the story Iz is continually challenged by the problems of aging parents, being a good mother, managing finances such as they are and dealing with Ronnie who can be sweet and endearing when he has screwed something up which is pretty often.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By M.Jacobsen TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is one of those novels that you don't appreciate the craftsmanship until you turn the last page. A historical novel set in Ireland, spanning the years from WWII to the 1960s, the story is chiefly about Iz, daughter of a cash-poor but land-rich Anglo-Irish aristocrat during a time when the IRA was "taking back" Ireland.

The novel is broken into two parts, the first entitled "Hector" and it encompasses the years of Iz's marriage. There's not too much Irish history in this part, rather it is a portrait of Iz as a (wronged) wife. The reader must have patience because when the second part, called "Iz" comes along, everything falls into place. The pace picks up dramatically, as if the author spent the first part of the book taking you slowly to the very top of a roller coaster. The resultant rush of plot, drama, Irish history and politics is an amazing experience.

The novel is enlightening and heartbreaking at the same time. He does what all good historical fiction authors should do: use realistic/complex characters to illuminate a time period in a way a text book never could.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Sea and the Silence tells a bleak story of lost hope, a story that is tragic but rich with emotion. The story is set in Ireland and much of it takes place during World War II, a time when (according to one of the characters) an independent Ireland was young "and time is all that is needed for it to come of age." By confronting her grief (over deaths and lost love), Ismay ("Iz") too comes of age; she must decide whether to base choices about her future on practicality or love -- only to find that some choices are out of her hands.

The Sea and the Silence begins quietly and ends dramatically. The novel is oddly structured -- at least it seems odd until the end, when it all makes sense. In a prologue, a solicitor is reading Iz's will; an epilog returns to the will and its impact on one of the characters. The bulk of the story is told in two parts, each written by Iz and delivered to the solicitor after her death. The first describes Iz's life from 1945 to 1963; the second begins in 1943 and ends in 1945. The first section is dominated by Iz's troubled marriage to Ronnie, their financial and marital problems, and her relationship with her son Hector. The second section addresses her family's financial woes, her uncertainty about whether their farmland will be taken and redistributed by the Land Commission, her strained relationship with her sister, the love she feels (to her sister's horror) for a dock worker, and the difficult choices she makes about her life (and those that are made for her) that lead her to marry Ronnie.

The novel explores a number of themes, including long-standing class prejudices and resentment of Irish landowners. Iz comes to wonder whether "the wedge driven by centuries between ...
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Lydia on April 11, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm kind of in the middle on this book. The story was somewhat engaging but the characters were difficult to understand and get to know.

The Sea and the Silence is a story about Iz, a young woman who once knew love and her experiences in life as she grows older and deals with war issues, family issues and marriage issues.

The writing style was.. odd, and made reading the book harder then it should have been. Peter Cunningham chose to write his dialogue proceeded by a dash instead of using quotation marks, which made for a lot of dashes and a bit of confusion on my part.

Also, the book is split into two parts, that of Hector and that of Iz. I spent most of the second part, Iz, in a very confused state because I didn't understand why it hadn't been written first. Toward the end I sort of got why he wrote the book the way he did but it was really confusing up until that point which does not make for an enjoyable read.

The story was good though once all the pieces of the puzzle were put together. I looked back on it and thought, huh - that was interesting. It's just a shame I couldn't find it as interesting while I was in the process of reading it.
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