Silence Is a Sense

Silence Is a Sense

Hardcover
Pub. price: $25.95
New: $24.65

ISBN10: 1643750267 ISBN13: 9781643750262 Publisher: Algonquin Books Published: Mar 16 2021 Pages: 304 Language: English

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"Lyrical, moving, and revealing."
--Tracy Chevalier, bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

A transfixing and beautifully rendered novel about a refugee's escape from civil war--and the healing power of community.

A young woman sits in her apartment, watching the small daily dramas of her neighbors across the way. She is an outsider, a mute voyeur, safe behind her windows, and she sees it all--the sex, the fights, the happy and unhappy families. Journeying from her war-torn Syrian homeland to this unnamed British city has traumatized her into silence, and her only connection to the world is the column she writes for a magazine under the pseudonym "the Voiceless," where she tries to explain the refugee experience without sensationalizing it--or revealing anything about herself.

Gradually, though, the boundaries of her world expand. She ventures to the corner store, to a bookstore and a laundromat, and to a gathering at a nearby mosque. And it isn't long before she finds herself involved in her neighbors' lives. When an anti-Muslim hate crime rattles the neighborhood, she has to make a choice: Will she remain a voiceless observer, or become an active participant in a community that, despite her best efforts, is quickly becoming her own?

Layla AlAmmar, a Kuwaiti-American writer and brilliant student of Arab literature, delivers here a complex and fluid book about memory, revolution, loss, and safety. Most of all, Silence is a Sense reminds us just how fundamental human connection is to survival.
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