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Silence Is A Sense

Silence Is A Sense

A Novel

Book - 2021 | First edition.
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"A woman sits in her apartment in an unnamed English city, absorbed in watching the dramas of her neighbors through their windows. Traumatized into muteness after a long, devastating trip from war-torn Syria to the UK, she believes that she wants to sink deeper into isolation, moving between memories of her absent boyfriend and family and her homeland, dreams, and reality. At the same time, she begins writing for a magazine under the pseudonym "the Voiceless," trying to explain the refugee experience without sensationalizing it-or revealing anything about herself. Gradually, as the boundaries of her world expand, she has to make a choice: Will she remain a voiceless observer, or become an active participant in her own life and in a community that, despite her best efforts, is quickly becoming her own?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Chapel Hill, North Carolina : Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2021.
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2021
ISBN: 9781643750262
Branch Call Number: FIC ALAMMAR, L.
Characteristics: 292 pages ; 22 cm


From Library Staff

This novel delves into the world of a traumatized, mute, and unnamed journalist who has escaped civil war in Syria for England.

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May 30, 2021

A Syrian refugee writes about her new life in the U.K., and the harrowing events she had along the way to a place she thought would be safe. She is a freelance writer turning in thoughtful pieces about war and politics and (some say unbelievable) essays on the harrowing experiences during her flight. She is mute due to the trauma in her life, which continues into her new life in England. Her first -person narrative is intertwined with her posts to an online magazine. Despite her best efforts to stay out of the lives of her neighbors, she becomes deeply involved in them, beginning with her mute observations through windows of the apartments (apparently few close the curtains no matter what is going on inside) through to relationships with several. Very well written.

Mar 16, 2021

One of the most profound statements in Layla AlAmmar’s second novel is “the thing is, when you can’t speak, people assume you can’t hear either.” Told in first person, a young mute woman has left her family and war-torn Aleppo, Syria to become one of the many refugees looking for a safe place to live. Ending up in an unnamed British city, she is living alone and writing The Voiceless column for an e-magazine. We never learn whether her mutism is by choice or because of the physical and mental hardships she has had to overcome to get to Britain. Her world is small. She lives in “West Tower, fourth floor, flat three.” Much of her life is spent watching her neighbors. In bits and pieces, the reader comes to know the narrator as an educated woman, studying literature at a Damascus university only to flee to survive. We learn the cost of having to leave her family, the sexual and physical abuse she suffered as an asylum seeker and what it is like to be one of the voiceless refugees living in a place where even surrounded by people, you live in solitude with your own thoughts.


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