Painter of Silence, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


SHORTLISTED FOR THE ORANGE PRIZE FOR FICTION 2012Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s.

A nameless man is found on the steps of a hospital. Deaf and mute, he is unable to communicate until a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw.

Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page. The memories are Safta's also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor house which was Safta's family home.

Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words.

But while Augustin's world remained the same size Safta's expanded to embrace languages, society - and a fleeting love, one long, hot summer. But then came war, and in its wake a brutal Stalinist regime, and nothing would remain the same.


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A moving book about Safta, the daughter of a well to do family, and Tinu, the son of their cook, deaf since birth, and without language despite rather brutal attempts at an oral education. After many years apart they meet again and we look at the events of the intervening years including the run up to WW2, the war years, and afterwards. How did they both survive such harsh times, and in particular how can Tinu make sense of it. This is essentially an exploration of what level of understanding is possible without language. Fascinating in the historical details too.

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