Review – The Weight of Silence – Heather Gudenkauf

The Weight of Silence (MIRA)

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mira Books (16 April 2010)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0778303695
  • My Rating = A-

    In this powerful debut novel, Heather Gudenkauf tells the story of a parent’s worst nightmare when two 7 year old girls go missing from their homes in Willow Creek, Iowa during the night. The action unfolds over a 24 hour period and the story is related using chapter by chapter multiple point of view, a style with which Jodi Picoult fans will be very familiar. Each character tells their story in the first person apart from one of the missing girls, Callie Clark, who is a selective mute who hasn’t spoken for the past 3 years. Also missing, is her best friend, Petra, who has acted as her “voice” in the interim.

    We, the readers, are in a privileged position, as we have more information about these disappearances than the police or the girls’ loved ones but, despite this, the author maintains a constant tension throughout the narrative. The result is a gripping, suspenseful novel which the reader will find unputdownable. Gudenkauf acts as a master puppeteer manipulating the distinct voices of each of her narrators, keeping us guessing as to the identity of the abductor until the very last few pages.

    This relatively short novel manages to tackle many themes of small town life – childhood friendship, family relationships, alcoholism and the usual idiosyncrasies of family life – whilst simultaneously spinning a tale which will keep you on the edge of your seat. If you already enjoy authors like Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve, you will relish this exceptional debut. It would also be an ideal Book Club read, providing plenty of meaty topics for discussion and debate.

    My thanks to Easons for sending me a review copy.

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    1. [...] ….a gripping, suspenseful novel which the reader will find unputdownable. Lovely Treez Reads [...]

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