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Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Ex-library book. The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting.
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The Silent Land: A novel Hardcover – March 29, 2011

3.8 out of 5 stars 120 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Near the outset of this gently haunting fantasy thriller from British author Joyce (Requiem), a freak avalanche buries Zoe and Jake, a couple on a skiing holiday near the Pyrenean resort town of Saint-Bernard-en-Haut. After digging out, they find themselves the only inhabitants of the unnaturally silent landscape. Back at their hotel, they discover they're still alone. All their efforts to leave for the next town only bring them back in a circle. Jake suspects that they've died—but then Zoe begins seeing furtive figures and hearing snatches of speech that suggest this likely explanation is more complex than it seems. Joyce brings freshness to this familiar supernatural scenario by emphasizing the humanness of his characters over the weirdness of the phenomena. By the time the tale sounds its final bittersweet note, readers will remember the passionate emotional bond the two have shared and self-sacrifices that are the hallmark of a love that can transcend death. (Mar.)
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Review

“A sensitive exploration of love’s redemptive power.” Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

This tour de force invites comparison to the work of Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.…. So perfectly rendered…. Joyce's skill at conveying the creepiness of inexplicable events creates undeniable tension…. The novel is encased, like the village, in a veil of ice and mystery…. The novel's conclusion is both beautiful and devastating with its insight into the lives of two decent, honest people. Few times while reading fiction have I been so overcome by how remembering the past and living in the moment combine to form the core of our existence. In The Silent Land - a classic in the making - Joyce's great and abiding gift is to make the reader feel this truth fiercely and protectively.” -- The Washington Post (Jeff VanderMeer)

“Stark, layered, ominous and yet appealing…Luckily for the reader, in the end Mr. Joyce delivers relief along with satisfaction and wonder.” --New York Times
 
“With TV's "Lost" having found its conclusion, and its successor on the pop culture landscape still missing in its own right, fans longing for a mysterious and mystical world to explore might consider visiting "The Silent Land," a tautly rendered new novel by British writer Graham Joyce… For all of "The Silent Land's" surreal chills and heavy-footed nods to spirituality, Jake and Zoe's relationship thoughtfully remains at the forefront with sharp banter and finely drawn moments of mutual reflection that carry an endearing grace…. As engaging as a twisted fireside yarn and paced almost as quickly, "The Silent Land" doesn't necessarily tell a new story, but it tells it with enough heartfelt panache to ensure its mystery — and its ultimately hopeful reflection of ours — never ceases to matter.” – Los Angeles Times

“World Fantasy Award-winner Graham Joyce may be the best guide available to the uncertain terrain of dreams, intoxication and madness…Joyce's crisp prose, transparent as ice crystals, is the perfect medium for [his] tale. Emotion-laden yet unsentimental, unflinchingly attuned to the fluencies of love, "The Silent Land" brings us to the brink of death and gives a glimpse of the unfathomable beauty lying beyond. – The Seattle Times
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (March 29, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780385533805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385533805
  • ASIN: 0385533802
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (120 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,409,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Starting with an incredibly revealing book jacket that shames Kindle and Nook, this lucky 13th book by Graham Joyce is a startling reality wake-up call --- and it prognosticates what is to come.

A daybreak "avalanche with its ferocious white teeth had snapped at their heels." Zoe is crushed by the onslaught: "Total silence, total darkness." She resigns herself to her situation: "You're in a snow tomb, be calm." Ankles over elbows, she realizes she's upside down in that tomb. Fortunately, husband Jake comes to her rescue. With no skis, they work their way to an abandoned lift operator's cabin. With heat --- and a hip flask --- to warm them, they take the operator's single set of skis, working their way back to Saint-Bernard-en-Haut. The village is deserted, but something else seems amiss.

They return to the tiny ski village where they had first met years before: "There was something they had to sort out. Something they were meant to discuss. But she knew that right now was the wrong moment." The next day they steal a police car, the only vehicle with ignition keys. They try to get out of the village, where another avalanche looms. Fogbound and snowbound, Jake teeters the car over a precipice. Returning to the hotel, there are no TV, radio or phone signals. And --- horrors! --- no Internet connection. Attempts to leave Saint-Bernard on foot fail.

The novel's text has the simplicity and beauty of a Georgia O'Keeffe painting. With deft brush strokes, Joyce paints a tapestry of intrigue and Hitchcock-like suspense, sort of a cross between Stephen King's THE LANGOLIERS and "The Twilight Zone." "It's like there's a conspiracy to keep us here," Jake ponders. Eventually they quit communicating.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Graham Joyce's "The Silent Land" poses quite a conundrum for me. Did I enjoy the novel? Yes, it was a rather quick and engaging read. But I'm not entirely sure that I'd go out of my way to recommend it. Billed as a "suspense novel," I don't really think "The Silent Land" will capture that marketplace with its rather gentle tone. As a mystery or puzzler, I think Joyce's work is competently constructed and well thought-out but (and here's a big but) it's not the least bit surprising. Anyone who's seen a film, watched TV, or read a book recently will undoubtedly uncover the central enigma almost from the get-go. I'm not saying that necessarily spoils "The Silent Land," but expectations set forth by the book's marketing campaign may confound "thrill readers" (the target audience listed in advance press).

Ultimately, what will sell (or not sell) "The Silent Land" is NOT the mystery that faces its central characters but their journey to reach that truth. Loving married couple Jake and Zoe are on a skiing holiday in the French Alps when the unthinkable happens--an early morning avalanche strikes as they are isolated on the slopes. Through perseverance and instinct, they manage to extricate themselves from the snow and are thoroughly invigorated just to be alive. However, when they make it back to the lodge and the village--there seems to have been an evacuation. Without a soul in sight and no telephone communications, Zoe and Jake attempt to jump ship as well before the next wall of snow hurtles down on them. But nature seems to be conspiring against their escape. Soon their fear gives way to absolute freedom which in turn slides to dread. Just what is really going on?
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading this book several months ago and thinking about it several times in the meantime, I'm still not 100% sure of how I feel about this book. It was good, but it wasn't great. Sometimes the writing felt a bit clunky, but the imagery was always very real and very present. The story is told from perspective of a young woman who along with her husband become trapped in an avalanche while on a skiing trip. Once they escape the snow, they travel down to their chalet to find that the entire hotel, town, and countryside is completely abandoned - it's as if everyone disappeared out of thin air. It's spooky stuff, but Mr. Joyce chooses to focus on the relationship between his protagonists more than on the creepy things happening around them. This is both good and bad. I'm glad this wasn't just another ghost story, but I also never felt that passionate about either character or worried for their safety. The 'twist' ending also left me somewhat unsatisfied. I figured where it was going long before it happened so I don't really know if it was supposed to be a shocker, but it was written in a way that suggested it was. So I'm of two minds. I enjoyed it and I would probably recommend it with some minor reservations, but I definitely wouldn't go back to visit it again. Nor would I jump on the chance to read more Joyce.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Everyone talks about Stephen King, et al, and they are certainly a good authors, but people should be aware that Graham Joyce is one of the best of the genre of just plain strange books, though I don't hear so much about him.

This is a lovely book and would make a perfect movie! Zoe and Jake are skiing in Europe when an avalanche occurs. They survive, but when they return to the village, no one is there. Everyone seems to have disappeared totally. The story covers the next few days of their lives as things get less and less clear about what has happened and they try to figure out what exactly is going on.

A wonderful story told with a high creepiness quotient! While I did figure out what was going on fairly early, it didn't affect the suspense at all!

I recommend this book highly.
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