"A daring writer who can be relied on to ignore expectation, and is becoming one of the most interesting, honest and thought-provoking novelists working today." The Guardian
"Jones' rejection of isolationism and imaginative embrace of so much that the world has to offer make him a literary figure to watch." Los Angeles Times
"A knockout... a fresh and immaculately paced study of the process by which old information becomes new, and one of the bravest and best-written memoirs I have read." - The Telegraph
A powerful and unexpected memoir from the author of the best-selling Man Booker Prizeshortlisted Mister Pip .
As the New Zealand city of Christchurch lies in ruins after the catastrophic earthquake of February 2011, Lloyd Jones begins a search for his past, a search that takes him through childhood memories of puzzling events to Pembroke Dock in Wales, and finally to the discovery of a devastating court transcript.
On this extraordinary journey, he pieces together the fragments of a story that has been buried in his family for a lifetime. A mother who gave up her daughter, a naval captain drowned at sea, a marriage to save a child.
And a truth that changes everything.
Lloyd Jones was born in New Zealand in 1955. His best-known novel is the international bestseller Mister Pip , which won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the 2008 Kiriyama Prize Fiction Category, the 2008 Montana Award for Readers Choice, the Montana Fiction Award, and the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been made into a major feature film starring Hugh Laurie ( House ). Lloyd Jones lives in Wellington, New Zealand.
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About the Author
Lloyd Jones was born in New Zealand in 1955. His best-known novel is Mister Pip , which won the 2007 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, the 2008 Kiriyama Prize Fiction Category, the 2008 Montana Award for Readers Choice, the Montana Fiction Award and the Montana Medal for Fiction or Poetry. It was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and has been made into a major feature film, directed by Andrew Adamson ( Shrek and Narnia ). His other books include Hand Me Down World , The Book of Fame which won the Deutz Medal for Fiction at the 2001 Montana New Zealand Book Awards and the Tasmania Pacific Fiction Prize Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance and Biografi . He has also published a collection of short stories, The Man in the Shed . Lloyd Jones lives in Wellington.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
“There might have been more to tell if more had been shared, if questions had been asked, if information had been offered and passed along at the moment it lit up in memory. But the family trait was silence. Great wreaths of it were wound around our lives and stuffed in the windows and hallway of our parents’ house, and that is what was absorbed, that and, speaking for myself, a finely tuned ability to gauge the air in the room which at any moment might explode with the slam of a door” A History of Silence is a memoir by New Zealand author, Lloyd Jones. Asked by a BBC radio producer to comment on the Christchurch earthquake of February, 2011, Jones travels there from his home in an old Auckland shoe factory to observe, perhaps to help? What he sees sets off a need inside him to discover the true history of his family, of which little has ever been revealed. Jones turns his wonderful talent for descriptive prose to this memoir of his forebears: “I have never felt as lightly tethered to the earth as when the nor-wester is at full bombastic strength. Even my face feels rearranged – I can feel the nose bone sticking up and the wrong patch of skin where the forehead normally sits. Eyelids have to be prised open. The nose drips” His research takes him to Pembroke Dock in search of a paternal grandfather allegedly “lost at sea”, but his narrative also tends to go off on loosely-related tangents, like relating a visit to Russia to meet his wife’s ancestors. In his search, he regularly draws parallels with both the earthquake and, later, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Thus it takes a while to reach the most interesting part: the court transcript of his maternal grandmother’s divorce. “Of course the earthquake struck when and where it did, and to the naked eye of course the pattern of bad luck would seem random, unless of course you knew about the old city map indicating ancient subterranean waterways, and of course I would find myself born into a world of silence because that is precisely what the shamed bestows upon the progeny – a wilful forgetting”