The Silences of Home by Caitlin Sweet is her second book, a prequel to A Telling of Stars published earlier, but Caitlin’s writing is very impressive indeed. The book greeted me with a tale of a faraway magical world and the characters drew me in and didn’t let go until the end.
The plot in itself seems a bit weak, the characters move around quite a bit, but what happens seems to be more of a backdrop for the book than the center stage. Much more significant is the interaction between the main characters, and it’s the weave of personalities that really made me want to keep on reading. In many places I could hear their unspoken words — the narrative is very atmospheric and effective. The events are strongly coloured by the characters’ emotions and certain parts read as if the actions are in a haze. It seems strange, but I found more feeling in the quiet, poignant characters than in those with the most dialogue and witty lines.
The book title is very well chosen. It brings out some scenes and their significance to the reader and the characters. Every major character in the book experiences that silence, feels it, and struggles with it. The dynamics of life of two couples, Lanara with Nellyn and Aldron with Alea, are especially interesting; they are all distinctly different personalities and yet their relationships are very similar in many aspects. It made me stop and think about how differently people may handle the same situation.
I felt that Caitlin dealt very justly with all her characters. There were quite a few who died and many more that did not leave the story unscathed; yet, there is a feeling of a fair and believable conclusion to their story. They did not break the character, do the impossible, or get more than they deserved. The book left me content, thoughtful, and eager to read Caitlin’s other book.
Reviewed by Maria Khomenko