Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first book to be suggested today is The Silence by Tim Lebbon, published by Titan Books. It was chosen by Mark Edwards, whose latest novel, The Retreat, was published by Thomas and Mercer on 10 May 2018.

In the darkness of a underground cave system, blind creatures hunt by sound. Then there is light, there are voices, and they feed… Swarming from their prison, the creatures thrive and destroy. To scream, even to whisper, is to summon death. As the hordes lay waste to Europe, a girl watches to see if they will cross the sea. Deaf for many years, she knows how to live in silence; now, it is her family’s only chance of survival. To leave their home, to shun others, to find a remote haven where they can sit out the plague. But will it ever end? And what kind of world will be left?

Here’s what he had to say:

“It’s hard to choose because there are so many. I’m going to choose The Silence by Tim Lebbon. It belongs to my favourite sub-genre, the apocalyptic novel, and starts when a huge flock of flesh-eating creatures are let out of a cave in Eastern Europe and set about gobbling up everyone in their path. They hunt using sound and the survivors have to stay silent to avoid being killed. It’s brilliantly tense and well-written. The idea is similar to A Quiet Place, but The Silence came out first.”

The second book to be suggested today is Where the Trees Were by Inga Simpson, published by Blackfriars. It was suggested by Susi Fox, who’s debut novel, Mine, was published by Penguin on 1 April 2018.

When Jay and her four childhood friends find a group of ancient trees carved by an Aboriginal tribe to identify sacred land, their eyes are opened to an older world. The tightly-knit group are at their most free on the river that runs through the farm, near the trees, and their childhood has a magical quality as they grow always closer, protected from the adult world. But as tension over land rights flickers in the grown-ups’ lives, the children’s attempt to protect the grove ends in disaster.

Seventeen years later, Jay finally has her chance to make amends. Not every wrong can be put right, but sometimes looking the other way is no longer an option. But at what cost?

Here’s what she has to say:

“All of Inga Simpson’s writing is remarkable, particularly her depiction of the Australian landscape. Where the Trees Were is Simpson’s third literary fiction novel that deeply moved me in its reflections on land, colonialism and race.”

So there we have it, two completely different books and two that were unfamiliar to me. Have

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One Comment Add yours

  1. Eurgh, The Silence. I got halfway through and had been really enjoying it but then something happened and I didn’t read any more.😢

    Like

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