Grondahl's prose . . . is electrically charged, while the plot is gripping and full of emotion, making Silence in October a winner all the way.
TimesGrondahl's prose . . . is electrically charged, while the plot is gripping and full of emotion, making Silence in October a winner all the way.
Publishers WeeklyThis spare new novel by acclaimed Danish author Grindahl tells the story of a dissolving marriage in a complex, elliptical and moving way. At the book's start, a Danish art historian wakes up in Copenhagen to find that his wife, Astrid, is leaving him. The novel then traces the events leading up to this separation. The art historian met his now departed wife while driving a cab to put himself through grad school; she happened to hail him the day she left her first husband. She sought refuge with her cabbie, and the two of them ended up together for 18 years. During the course of their marriage, the art historian falls in love with a sculptor while visiting New York on business. Though his great intelligence affords him many insights, it does not keep his private life from falling into disarray. Grindahl carves out a convincing milieu for his protagonist, with numerous believable characters, including the alternately sensible and volatile Astrid and various sly denizens of the art world. Images and events from the present and the past are seamlessly blended so that single sentences or paragraphs sometimes span years. Grindahl's Proustian game playing with the strictures of time is seductive and often captivating, a narrative tightrope that he walks without a stumble. He sprinkles the book, as well, with knowing observations about human nature, characters' perceptions of each other and memory itself, lending his tale a poetic depth that never ceases to surprise. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library JournalCelebrated Danish novelist Grindahl makes his U.S. debut, and it is entirely welcome. His narrator is an art historian whose wife, Astrid, has inexplicably departed. Why did she leave? Will she return? These are the questions her husband ponders as he tracks her progress through Europe (via credit card use and bank withdrawals) to a place in Portugal that has special meaning for them. At the same time, he slowly sifts through his memories, recalling how they met (as a cab driver, he picked her up with her child as she was abandoning her unfaithful husband, a famous film director) and how they built a life together with a child of their own, now grown. At first, the reader's sympathies lie with the narrator, but slowly the story shifts, and he discloses an affair that Astrid may or may not have surmised. In the end, the novel reveals the complicity of both partners in making a marriage, for better or for worse. This is indeed an "October" novel, meditative, melancholic, and profoundly right in its portrait of the scrapings and balancings of married life. Not for the action crowd, this is instead highly recommended wherever people read for substance. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus ReviewsWere he still directing, Ingmar Bergman might have made a memorable film from this claustrophobic and emotionally charged portrayal of a destroyed marriage and its complex emotional fallout. Veteran Danish author Grøndahl, in the first of his eleven novels to appear here, slowly, slyly builds a devastating characterization of this 1996 tale's unnamed narrator: a ruminative art historian, former cabdriver, and blase sensualist, amoral betrayer of his wife, and-most interestingly-a passive emotional blank whose inchoate guilt feelings suggest a reluctant momentum toward a kind of religious faith. This very accomplished fiction also employs imagery drawn from cinema and theater to evoke the tactics by which its characters compulsively live: selectivity, hyperbole, and (especially) fabrication.
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Silence In October based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
The story is a powerful look at contemporary marriage from the viewpont of a fifty-ish Danish man who's wife unexpectedly leaves him one day. He looks back on their years together and reflects on his and her shortcomings. Very well written, great story that makes you want to read more the farther into it you get. This book is translated from the Danish native language it was originally written in; this at times may add to some confusion when the author jumps from past to present and place to place, but if the reader pays attention at the beginning, he will be well rewarded.