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Painter of Silence: A Novel Hardcover – September 18, 2012
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“[An] accomplished work of fiction.” ―The New York Times
“The novel's magic lies in Harding's poignant but unsentimental portrayal of people who face such losses and yet find a kind of wholeness.” ―O, The Oprah Magazine
“Though Harding's novel is firmly set in historical time, which is Safta's reality, Tinu seems to exist on a different plane, and the multiple dimensions give the book a peculiar power.” ―Booklist
“Harding has created a memorable portrait in words of an exile from language.” ―Kirkus
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Tinu is both deaf and mute, and he is either uninterested in or unable to learn sign language. He can write a few words, but does not seem able to connect them with what they represent in the outside world. His only form of communication is through haunting drawings which he makes with soot and spit on found materials - paper, boxes, wrappings, pieces of cloth - and these drawings reflect an unusually selective view of the world in which the people have no faces and the buildings feel empty. Without a trace of easy sentimentality, the author depicts his life, limited view of the world, and the conclusions he draws about life. Though Safta intuitively understands much of what he feels and tries to teach him to write, she is a child, too, easily distracted by the natural excitements of her own childhood, and she has other friends with whom to spend time, especially in adolescence. "Tinu had a way that let you forget him," she notes, years later.Read more ›
Throughout World War II and the Communist reign that follows, Augusten's reality is drawn only from inference.
A fascinating thread throughout this book is the perception that people around him have of this man. Each person projects the needs and the past onto him. He is the reflection of one woman's lost son, another's vanished lover, the absence of daughters now in prison. As he moves around Roumania, people speak to him, unloading their hearts to the man they know will not betray them.
We see the world through his eyes and at other times, the world and the perception of Augustus by those who come to care.
Natalie Goldberg said recently in an interview that she thought writers were often people who hadn't been heard as a child. As someone who didn't "feel" heard, I think she's right -- and I think Georgina Harding captured the frustration, the persistence, and the joy of both parties when communication is achieved in unspoken conversations in "Painter of Silence"
Her language is sparse but scenes are crystal clear. Movement is measured and slow enough for ideas to sink in but fast enough to keep one's interest. This broadened my horizons considerable.
With those earlier 2 books, I got so far, so very far, but could not go to the final 5th star, as something, in each case, did not completely work
With her third book, 5 stars seem mean!
Set in Romania, before the second world war, and finishing some years later, when grim, Stalinist Communism had placed other changes upon that country, her central character is a young, deaf mute baby at the start, child of a servant in the great house, and the parallel life this child, and the daughter of the great house, inhabit. Childhood in the house for both of the infants, who are close in age and in friendship, is described in ways which evoke the much written about Edwardian landscape of pre first world war England - except that we have a much more unchanged, less modern world, in Romania. The children grow, and Tinu, the young boy, finds ways of seeing, interpreting and communicating the world through drawings.
It is a fascinating book. The central character is wordless, and those around him find a strange freedom to share their thoughts because he cannot hear or speak them.
Although a huge narration is happening in the book - the large historical events, much of it a dreadful history, Harding does not dwell on the narrative - changes are experience by snapshot images - she is a real adept at show-not-tell - for example, the couple in the city, and the relationship of fear and control set up by the Party machinery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read a recommendation of it by a spiritual writer and decided to read it. It was a good readPublished 5 months ago by LINDA Mc MAHON
Painter of Silence is set in the city of Iasi and country town o Poiana, Romania, in the 1950s. Augustin (Tinu for short) is a deaf mute, the son of a cook, Paraschiva, who works... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Martina A. Nicolls
Just ok found it a bit slow and not quite what I expected but I will read again when I get timePublished 17 months ago by vv
Author Georgina Harding takes a unique look at World War II’s effect on a small area of Romania, through the eyes of a deaf mute man, and the effects she achieves are nothing short... Read morePublished 22 months ago by CLS-LRS
It was the first book read on the Kindle app on my Ipad and I'm not sure I enjoyed reading on an electronic device - takes some getting used to!! Loved the story.Published 23 months ago by Cathy Shields
I judged this book by its cover...It was sitting on the library shelf, looked moody and mysterious so I took it home!
This story has an unusual setting, Romania in the 1950's. Read more
This is a hauntingly beautiful novel, set in pre and post war Romania. Augustin is a deaf mute boy, born to the cook at the ‘big house,’ and Safta is the first born child of the... Read morePublished on August 15, 2014 by S Riaz
Well worth reading!!! I recommend this too all my friends, particularly artists and lovers of art. Ccccc BBC bbb bPublished on July 15, 2014 by Arna