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After eighteen years of marriage, an art historian wakes up one morning to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway with her bags packed, leaving him with no explanation. Alone in his Copenhagen apartment, he tries to make sense of his enigmatic marriage and life. Memories of driving a cab, quiet walks in the snow, and intense sojourns in Paris and New York pass throu After eighteen years of marriage, an art historian wakes up one morning to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway with her bags packed, leaving him with no explanation. Alone in his Copenhagen apartment, he tries to make sense of his enigmatic marriage and life. Memories of driving a cab, quiet walks in the snow, and intense sojourns in Paris and New York pass through his mind in fleeting images. The more he thinks of his wife, however, the more mysterious she becomes to him. Slowly he realizes that two people can live together for years without ever really knowing each other, and that the most important encounters in one's life are dictated by chance, not design. Exploring with great subtlety the secret, unpredictable connections between men and women, Silence in October is a psychological novel of immense acuity and masterful storytelling.


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After eighteen years of marriage, an art historian wakes up one morning to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway with her bags packed, leaving him with no explanation. Alone in his Copenhagen apartment, he tries to make sense of his enigmatic marriage and life. Memories of driving a cab, quiet walks in the snow, and intense sojourns in Paris and New York pass throu After eighteen years of marriage, an art historian wakes up one morning to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway with her bags packed, leaving him with no explanation. Alone in his Copenhagen apartment, he tries to make sense of his enigmatic marriage and life. Memories of driving a cab, quiet walks in the snow, and intense sojourns in Paris and New York pass through his mind in fleeting images. The more he thinks of his wife, however, the more mysterious she becomes to him. Slowly he realizes that two people can live together for years without ever really knowing each other, and that the most important encounters in one's life are dictated by chance, not design. Exploring with great subtlety the secret, unpredictable connections between men and women, Silence in October is a psychological novel of immense acuity and masterful storytelling.

30 review for Silence in October

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Miller

    Having lived in Scandinavia, I've developed a taste, evidently, for cultures that are hard to crack; I'm always seeking out the work of new Scandinavian authors to fall in love with. I return to Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow over and over (I've even begun shopping around an essay I wrote on that one); no other contemporary Nordic prose writer has moved me nearly so much. Until now...perhaps. I'm re-reading Jens Christian Grondahl's Silence in October; I read it for the first time about a ye Having lived in Scandinavia, I've developed a taste, evidently, for cultures that are hard to crack; I'm always seeking out the work of new Scandinavian authors to fall in love with. I return to Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow over and over (I've even begun shopping around an essay I wrote on that one); no other contemporary Nordic prose writer has moved me nearly so much. Until now...perhaps. I'm re-reading Jens Christian Grondahl's Silence in October; I read it for the first time about a year ago and came away from it with very mixed feelings. I loved the sense of mystery, the way time collapses, how the narrator shifts between periods of his personal history; I loved the sense of being in Copenhagen again, vicariously. I did not love that the protagonist did something in a past relationship (I don't want to give away too much here) that seems to have no external consequences for him (although the internal ones -- who that experience makes him as he moves into his future -- could be read by some as sufficient consequence). I imagine the life of both people in a relationship after such an event, and I want, in theory, to have compassion for both of them as they become different people. As I re-read the book, I see that Grondahl is revealing how deeply one may pay for old sins by becoming something else, someone else -- even if that someone else appears to be a better, finer person than the original. But I don't buy that when the one who has caused such hurt meets with his/her victim/past lover there would be the kind of acceptance , even a desire to reconcile, perhaps, that Grondahl portrays. As we heard ad nauseum in graduate school, the relationship's portrayal is PROBLEMATIC, to say the very least. Meanwhile, as I re-read Silence, I've also begun another Grondahl novel, Lucca. I'm enjoying reading something else by Grondahl, and the sense of mystery, of revisiting a country that haunts me, etc., is quite pleasurable. As I muddle through midlife, seeing how fictional characters take stock is heartening -- both Grondahl and Hoeg know how to portray the self-doubt, the fortunate moments of connection, etc. that go along with long-term relationships, not only those inspired by romantic partnership, but also those with parents and children, with friends and others lost to death or distance, and, most intimately, with oneself.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    An author's wife leaves him and his grown-up children just as he is getting ready to leave for New York on business. (The book is mainly set in Denmark and is translated from the Danish.) The author tracks his wife's movements by watching her credit card transactions on his computer and he discovers that she is re-tracing a trip to Portugal they took together years ago. That's basically the plot. The rest of the book is a wonderful introspection of the author's life as he reflects upon his life An author's wife leaves him and his grown-up children just as he is getting ready to leave for New York on business. (The book is mainly set in Denmark and is translated from the Danish.) The author tracks his wife's movements by watching her credit card transactions on his computer and he discovers that she is re-tracing a trip to Portugal they took together years ago. That's basically the plot. The rest of the book is a wonderful introspection of the author's life as he reflects upon his life and marriage. I've read hundreds of books and this is the most introspective and psychologically in-depth reflection of a man's life that I can recall. And it's fascinating. The moral of the story is that a woman always KNOWS. Yet even after almost three-hundred pages of brilliant introspection, this man is clueless. It has great writing. A sample: "... I vowed never again to love in vain, never again to wear my heart on my sleeve like a war veteran displaying his medals from a war no one remembered."And: "I felt hopelessly conventional, almost like a plainclothes cop, as we walked through the East Village, which seemed to be populated by a cross section of international originals, so that eccentricity had become the norm while the normal was extraordinary." Read this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Edita

    I mused that time is not only a river, but a river that constantly breaks its banks so you must flee from it as it covers everything behind your back, flee into the future, empty-handed, dispossessed, as the river obliterates your footsteps with each stride you take, each time you pass from one moment to the next. * With the passage of time I must admit that I know roughly the same amount, perhaps even slightly less, and not at all with the same certainty as then. My so-called experiences are not I mused that time is not only a river, but a river that constantly breaks its banks so you must flee from it as it covers everything behind your back, flee into the future, empty-handed, dispossessed, as the river obliterates your footsteps with each stride you take, each time you pass from one moment to the next. * With the passage of time I must admit that I know roughly the same amount, perhaps even slightly less, and not at all with the same certainty as then. My so-called experiences are not at all the same as knowledge. It is more like, what shall I call it, a kind of echo chamber in which the little I know resounds hollow and inadequate. A growing void around my scant knowledge that rattles foolishly like the dried-up kernel in a walnut. My experiences are experiences of ignorance, its boundlessness, and I will never discover how much I still do not know, and how much is just something I believed in. * How shall I be able to comprehend the extent of my uncertainty? * Sometimes I think you take photographs instead of seeing, you forget to look in your eagerness to grasp what is seen, to capture it in time's flight. You are absent from your own pictures, not only because you took them yourself, but also because you betray the moments you want to save from oblivion. Before you get the picture in focus it has already become a different moment. * In brief fleeting moments before I fell asleep, on the threshold between thought and a dream I asked myself if it was so easy to love Astrid because I had finally learned to love, or because I had learned to love less.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Rowena

    A lovely, introspective, quietly beautiful novel. A man wakes to find that his wife of 18 years is leaving him. At first, you sympathize with him in his bewilderedness, then as the narrative of his life unfolds, you start to understand the reason behind the separation. Memory, the man finds, is a tricky thing. You can go your whole life believing that something that happened to you was "right" and "good." But when faced with an alternative path that becomes very viable, your whole life falls und A lovely, introspective, quietly beautiful novel. A man wakes to find that his wife of 18 years is leaving him. At first, you sympathize with him in his bewilderedness, then as the narrative of his life unfolds, you start to understand the reason behind the separation. Memory, the man finds, is a tricky thing. You can go your whole life believing that something that happened to you was "right" and "good." But when faced with an alternative path that becomes very viable, your whole life falls under speculation. It is human nature for us to question whether the grass really is greener. I personally think that 9 times out of 10 it's not. But yet we hope and wonder. We are buoyed by our romanticism, our imaginations, our (let's face it) innate selfishness. And it can be our downfall. We can only hope that we have the sense to value what is, by all rights, our carefully nurtured choices.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sahib Tulsi

    This is a terribly sad book, sometimes insidiously so. My four stars are for Jens Christian Grøndahl and the translator Anne Born, for they have immersed themselves into this gloomy world of the drama that lies within us and come out with such gorgeous and breathtaking prose. It took me sometime before I was able to immerse myself into this ocean of words. But once I got used to it, I felt, at many moments, that Jens Christian paints with his words. The subtle, provocatively dark and nuanced poe This is a terribly sad book, sometimes insidiously so. My four stars are for Jens Christian Grøndahl and the translator Anne Born, for they have immersed themselves into this gloomy world of the drama that lies within us and come out with such gorgeous and breathtaking prose. It took me sometime before I was able to immerse myself into this ocean of words. But once I got used to it, I felt, at many moments, that Jens Christian paints with his words. The subtle, provocatively dark and nuanced poetic writing is brimming with melancholic undertones. There was a repetitive vibe that clings to the writing that dissects the vital moments in narrator's life, and as a narrative device, it works splendidly. I have always been drawn towards writers who are least bothered about writing plot-driven fiction. And as I read the pages that were filled with in-depth retrospective reflections on the interplay and interpretations of feelings, desires, beliefs, and emotions of your past selves, it dawned on me that this is one of the most psychologically-detailed interior monologues I’ve read, ever, probably second to Proust. This wasn’t a delightful read by any stretch of imagination but the gnawing little part in me that longs to put on the cloak of an ‘adult’ persuaded me that this was, after all, an important read. I am contented that I listened to it. Having said that, this is not an easy read. For there were times when I felt I wasn’t a reader at all but someone who was gaping through the cracks in the soul of the narrator, without his knowledge, intruding his intimate spaces. I felt like I was sauntering through one of those enigmatic forests where I am fascinated by the sights I’m witnessing but also fearful of the sounds I’m hearing. Then again, the unease arose out of something else. After many reading sessions, I was left with a sense of fear and helplessness, as to how my future selves will judge my past selves, to the extent that I had to persuade myself to stop reading for a while and distract myself with doses of pop culture. Trying to think of the multitudes contained within us, I could not help but muse that there are so many shadows lurking behind the canvas of every person that we should feel honored and privileged to penetrate even through a few of them. But to think that from these few shadows we can know about those other shadows which are locked in rooms which are inaccessible to us is a blind alley, a trap, an abyss. So, I really don’t know what to write about my relationship with this book, I’ll have to read it again after a few years to think more about it, and I’m curious to see what nerves it’ll prick then.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Numidica

    This is not a terrible book, and I'm sure some people like it very much, but it's not for me. It's a DNF. There is a lot of rumination of past discussions or experiences with the missing wife, but very little action. Not for me, sorry.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jennie May

    A melancholy exploration of the innermost thoughts on life, decisions, how we see ourselves, love, dreams, desires, change and marriage. Slow and meandering it almost felt as though I were reading a diary. Really quite wonderful.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dolf Patijn

    They say that something is always lost in translation. Unfortunately I can't read in Danish so I read this book in the Dutch translation. The translated version is so beautiful that I really wonder what it must be like in the original language. Of course, this is also meant as a compliment to the translator. I highly recommend this book and Jens Christian Grøndahl's work in general. Er wordt gezegd dat er altijd wat in een vertaling verloren gaat. Jammergenoeg kan ik niet in het Deens lezen dus m They say that something is always lost in translation. Unfortunately I can't read in Danish so I read this book in the Dutch translation. The translated version is so beautiful that I really wonder what it must be like in the original language. Of course, this is also meant as a compliment to the translator. I highly recommend this book and Jens Christian Grøndahl's work in general. Er wordt gezegd dat er altijd wat in een vertaling verloren gaat. Jammergenoeg kan ik niet in het Deens lezen dus moest ik het met de Nederlandse vertaling doen. Het boek is echter in vertaling zo mooi dat ik me afvraag hoe goed het origineel dan wel niet moet zijn. Natuurlijk is dit ook bedoeld als een groot compliment voor de vertaler. Ik kan dit boek erg aanbevelen en daarnaast het overige werk van Jens Christian Grøndahl (voor zover ik het heb gelezen).

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    I am so embarrassed. Hailed as a "masterpiece," and "captures the essence of our time," this was absolutely awful. And, what is more awful, in desperation I chose it as one of the few books I could find written by a Dane for my "Scandinavian Smorgasbord" literature class, reading one book from each Scandinavian country. Obviously, because of constraints of time, I did not have an opportunity to read this . This is going to be a terribly painful experience. I deserve it; I have put my class throu I am so embarrassed. Hailed as a "masterpiece," and "captures the essence of our time," this was absolutely awful. And, what is more awful, in desperation I chose it as one of the few books I could find written by a Dane for my "Scandinavian Smorgasbord" literature class, reading one book from each Scandinavian country. Obviously, because of constraints of time, I did not have an opportunity to read this . This is going to be a terribly painful experience. I deserve it; I have put my class through horrible pain in having to read this. It is about a man wondering if he has ever been happy. But, did he have to make his readers unhappy while he was doing it. (Banging my head against the wall.)

  10. 4 out of 5

    Nick Schroeder

    I came to this book by way of "Out Stealing Horses" because that was so well translated that I looked for other books by the translator, Anne Born. This is an excellent book in which the main character, a man, examines his life in light of his wife leaving him unexpectedly. Anne Born's rewriting of Grondahl's novel is excellent in the extreme. I've only read this once but intend to reread it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mew

    Life changing... beautiful in parts, ugly in parts.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Deidre

    In the category of narrators you come to hate

  13. 5 out of 5

    Darkwalker

    A beautiful narrative. Don't expect a nice Hollywood ending (more along the lines of Camus).

  14. 5 out of 5

    Livia de Terra

    Maybe it's not so fair to give this book 3 stars, because I enjoyed it, but it was quite not what I expected. As part of my reading-the-world challenge, I wanted to get into Denmark culture, have a glimpse of how they live, what they value, and so on, but this book it's too intimist (which is not a fault, of course). Actually, I appreciate this kind of writing, and I've underlined many of the character's reflections that gave me a lot to think. It's interesting how he reflects on his marriage an Maybe it's not so fair to give this book 3 stars, because I enjoyed it, but it was quite not what I expected. As part of my reading-the-world challenge, I wanted to get into Denmark culture, have a glimpse of how they live, what they value, and so on, but this book it's too intimist (which is not a fault, of course). Actually, I appreciate this kind of writing, and I've underlined many of the character's reflections that gave me a lot to think. It's interesting how he reflects on his marriage and his feelings for his wife, after she leaves him without much explanation. At first, I thought "just another middle-aged man talking about how marriage holds him down", but it was more than that and despite some old cliches, I found it a good reflection on what holds people together for so long, what keeps a person attached to a partner despite the changes in life that deeply affect their identity. This book was not quite a perfect choice for this challenge, but I'm glad I got over my first judgment, it was worth. #11 #Denmark #traveling-the-world-through-books

  15. 4 out of 5

    Susanna Polakov

    The book is a monologue of a self-absorbed individual who is so locked-in in his internal world and so intent on listening to his inner voice that he doesn't know why his wife left him, in fact he doesn't even know if he left him at all. I started reading the book before my trip to Denmark to get a flavour of a Dane's life living in Copenhagen. Unfortunately for my purpose there was pretty much nothing about that, the city of a main character could have been any city or town in Europe or perhaps The book is a monologue of a self-absorbed individual who is so locked-in in his internal world and so intent on listening to his inner voice that he doesn't know why his wife left him, in fact he doesn't even know if he left him at all. I started reading the book before my trip to Denmark to get a flavour of a Dane's life living in Copenhagen. Unfortunately for my purpose there was pretty much nothing about that, the city of a main character could have been any city or town in Europe or perhaps anywhere else in the world. I got a better picture of NYC and some places in Northern Spain and especially Portugal than of Copenhagen. But that is not the reason I gave the book 4 stars. Even though I am a huge fan of a character-driven books as opposed to those that come into motion by the plot I found myself in places somewhat bored and impatient, when I felt like screaming to the guy: Come on! Do something! You are not the only one who may be unhappy or look for eternal answers. I don't think he'd have ever heard me in real life or not.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Grondahl's lyrical prose flows effortlessly from one lovely sentence to another as he explores romantic relationships. This a quiet book that unfolds slowly with random thoughts of past events and what might have been. A sad but honest look at love and how different expectations can be at various stages in life. Beautifully written.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Latonya Ferebee

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A story of the closest stranger.when all the chemical effects has gone,when palpitation has disappeared,when lust can't help lasting the passion,when the person still look the best towards to her(his) age bracket but you just have no idea why you seem unable to appreciate it any longer.A feeling more like "drowning" in the dying marriage when the pillow stranger is your only Savior.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Joao

    A brilliant love story in 3 very different and similar cities, Lisbon, Copenhagen and NYC! A true love affair from a couple leaving together for quite a long time, very intimate story self centred in a relationship! Good book

  19. 5 out of 5

    Gergana Gencheva

    It is a most honest book, a great one. As if written for me and for all wondering people my age. It is full of searching, love hope and forgiveness. For me personally, it is full of wisdom.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Katarina

    It's a slow and atmospheric book, well written, but at times repetitive (truth be told it makes sense with the theme, but still) and slightly daunting. It's rather devoid of emotion, no matter how emotional or intimate or life changing the subject at hand is, underlying the philosophical approach of the book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maaike Westra

    Probably the most tedious book I ever read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marta Markote

    Easy to read, storyline is not full of action, but still very exciting.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lydia

    Some beautiful passages, some struggles with the non-linear story line. A lot of navel gazing.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Dana Jerman

    This book is very beautiful and very rich. A little overloaded with the passive "perhaps", and majorly self-indulgent, as the effect could be rendered in half the space. It's a problem with novels, sometimes. I think the structure is a little clunky and so is the syntax, but the translator probably did the best she could with this. It is a loaded, at times difficult, read. Still, there are amazing lines thruout, and it is packed with longing and reflection in a strong and mature hetero-male voice This book is very beautiful and very rich. A little overloaded with the passive "perhaps", and majorly self-indulgent, as the effect could be rendered in half the space. It's a problem with novels, sometimes. I think the structure is a little clunky and so is the syntax, but the translator probably did the best she could with this. It is a loaded, at times difficult, read. Still, there are amazing lines thruout, and it is packed with longing and reflection in a strong and mature hetero-male voice that describes the trajectory of his life based on the long term relationships he has had with women. Cinematic and shaped by quiet emotional moments. My favorite section is a short bit right in the middle (starting on pg 156) where he describes running away from home in his youth and living in an abandoned ruin for a few nights. Just exquisite.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeanne

    Somehow my review written 2/2/18 got deleted, so here it is again. Grondahl's lyrical prose flows effortlessly from one lovely sentence to another as he explores romantic relationships. This is a quiet book that unfolds slowly with random thoughts of past events and what might have been. A sad but honest look at love and how different expectations can be at various stages in life. Beautifully written. Currently reading "An Altered Light," review to follow shortly. Grondahl is one fabulous writer!

  26. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    An art historian wakes up one morning to find Astrid, his wife of eighteen years, with a coat on and a suitcase in her hand. She turns and leaves without saying a word. Melancholy and meditative by nature, the narrator looks back on his life and ponders his relationships with his children, parents, friends, and old lovers. His memories form a series of stories, meandering back and forth in time as he tries to attend to his book on the New York School of painting. But his past haunts him, especia An art historian wakes up one morning to find Astrid, his wife of eighteen years, with a coat on and a suitcase in her hand. She turns and leaves without saying a word. Melancholy and meditative by nature, the narrator looks back on his life and ponders his relationships with his children, parents, friends, and old lovers. His memories form a series of stories, meandering back and forth in time as he tries to attend to his book on the New York School of painting. But his past haunts him, especially when his research takes him back to the city where he made his greatest mistake. Silence in October is a quiet book. Grøndahl's poetic voice recalls the stark reverence of the art gallery and the subdued tones of the morning mist. Even the busiest of settings are muted and padded by the narrator's ruminations, further reinforcing the sense of him as an isolated individual despite his preoccupation with how other people have molded him. In Manhattan, for example, he "[stands] in the strangely cross-illuminated shadow at the bottom of the streets' deep shafts, confused and weightless with fatigue in the restless, unceasing stream of cars and faces, the same stream as always." Later in his hotel room, you can picture easily the fading urban evening through the window and the impersonal solitude of a room designed for transient strangers. In fact, the work of Edward Hopper comes to mind, a connection made by the narrator himself. Silence in October is also a visual book. A recurring image is that of time flying by in a repetition of routine cycles which Astrid's abrupt departure brought to a halt. There is a tension between motion and stillness, between life and the frozen artifice of the painting or snapshot that allows for a depth of contemplation precluded by perpetual movement. "I cannot include everything," the narrator muses. "I have to select from among the images I have, I have to decide on a sequence, and thus my story will be quite different from the one she could tell, even though they are supposedly about the same subject." In that way the novel calls attention to itself as art and invites a postmodern examination of the boundaries between narrative and perception. But. What Hopper's paintings evoke was not meant to be extended this far. To put it simply, this is not 296 pages of material. Literature, after all, is art in movement. Whereas the painter produces a singular object, the author must continue to engage the reader by building upon their original premise. For all the prose reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, a middle-aged man just constantly pondering his relationships is a poor match for this particular art form. Silence in October should have been a novella, not a full-length novel. The thoughtful art critic becomes a self-indulgent bourgeois intellectual whose problems seem to stem from his life being too comfortable. But where Grøndahl fails in form he succeeds in expression. Silence in October is beautiful book while the appeal of its art lasts and still quite worth the time, even if it's eventually abandoned. Original Review

  27. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    I just finished reading The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve, and I think had I not read it first, I would've enjoyed this book much more. Although the specific events leading to the main characters' situations are different, the end result is the same: they are alone. In The Pilot's Wife, Kathryn's husband dies in a plane crash, leaving her with many unanswered questions, the most important of which is how well did she really know her husband? In Silence in October, the main character wakes up one I just finished reading The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve, and I think had I not read it first, I would've enjoyed this book much more. Although the specific events leading to the main characters' situations are different, the end result is the same: they are alone. In The Pilot's Wife, Kathryn's husband dies in a plane crash, leaving her with many unanswered questions, the most important of which is how well did she really know her husband? In Silence in October, the main character wakes up one morning to learn his wife is leaving him. Again, throughout the story he asks himself how well he really knew his wife. As it turns out, none of them seems to know very much about each other, which could have a little bit to do with the fact that they don't know themselves -- their wants, their needs -- very much either. I preferred Shreve's to-the-point approach to this book's cumbersome, drawnout paragraphs, but Jens Christian Grondahl painted more beautiful scenery (maybe because Grondahl's main character is an art historian and Shreve's was a music teacher). If he had included more dialogue to break up those Mitchneresque chapters, he would've held my attention longer -- because the story is beautifully melancholy -- but what had started as a promising story ultimately wound up falling a few feet short of my expectations.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Milan/zzz

    Jens Christian Grondahl's stunning Silence in October could easily have been an embarrassingly mawkish trawl through the psyche of an artistic man in midlife crisis. In fact, it is a hugely moving investigation into the nature of conversation, art and relationships. The unnamed narrator is a Danish art critic who wakes one day to find his wife on her way out of the door; she looks at him as he rouses, tells him that she will be away for a while, and then leaves. His children have also only recentl Jens Christian Grondahl's stunning Silence in October could easily have been an embarrassingly mawkish trawl through the psyche of an artistic man in midlife crisis. In fact, it is a hugely moving investigation into the nature of conversation, art and relationships. The unnamed narrator is a Danish art critic who wakes one day to find his wife on her way out of the door; she looks at him as he rouses, tells him that she will be away for a while, and then leaves. His children have also only recently left home and now the silence in the house seems huge. He can't work on his writing and he can't settle on anything else either. A trip to New York looms. The novel consists of his inner monologues--wonderfully handled by Grondahl ranging, as they do, back and forth in time, in long, flowing, allusive paragraphs--his thoughts on art, life and the women he has loved... This is an absolutely superb novel. It is always difficult to write about love and relationships without relying on clichés, reverting back to truisms and settling for the approximate, but here we have writing of precision, profoundity and earnestness. Grondahl's work is quietly awe-inspiring and Silence in October is a tremendous novel that will leave a deep impression on any reader.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

    I love grown up love stories and this one is written by someone with a deep understanding of love's vicissitudes. Grondahl pulls no punches - this is a novel about flawed people. For all that the narrator appears intelligent and thoughtful, he knows (as we do) that 'love loves without a reason', that even those we love and live with may retain a mysterious core, that we may never truly fathom their motivations. What the novel illuminates so beautifully is one man's attempt to honestly describe l I love grown up love stories and this one is written by someone with a deep understanding of love's vicissitudes. Grondahl pulls no punches - this is a novel about flawed people. For all that the narrator appears intelligent and thoughtful, he knows (as we do) that 'love loves without a reason', that even those we love and live with may retain a mysterious core, that we may never truly fathom their motivations. What the novel illuminates so beautifully is one man's attempt to honestly describe living in that relational space. The characters often ask each other 'are you happy?' and the truth is - who can say? Is happiness a series of moments or a continual state of being? Can you perhaps only be sure of it by way of contrast? Is it fair to make your happiness contingent on others, but how not to? What if you are both searching for happiness and for a way to avoid its unfortunate tendency towards stagnation? Not much is resolved in this novel but if you're looking for compassion and scrutiny in writing, I can't recommend this highly enough!!! On my way to find more by this author.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Jurss

    This is one of those books that I found difficult to read at first as I could not relate to the main character. His passivity was not something I had sympathy for. But as I continued to read I found myself drawn in more and more, reminding me that I don't have to like every character to like the book. It's hard to say "enjoy the book" when I found it mildly depressing to see this man just living his life instead of LIVING his life. I got the impression that his early childhood experiences caused This is one of those books that I found difficult to read at first as I could not relate to the main character. His passivity was not something I had sympathy for. But as I continued to read I found myself drawn in more and more, reminding me that I don't have to like every character to like the book. It's hard to say "enjoy the book" when I found it mildly depressing to see this man just living his life instead of LIVING his life. I got the impression that his early childhood experiences caused him to spend too much time protecting himself from the lows in life epitomized by the scene where he finds his father on the floor with the emotional pain inflicted by his mother. And, too late, he realizes that in protecting yourself from those lows, you also miss the highs, and merely skim the surface of life.

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