15×21 cm, 200 pp, ISBN 978-88-97308-88-1
Winner (1st) of the Leggimontagna2020 literary prize.
Silences tells the story of Ida, a thirteen years old girl that has to move from the city to an isolated mountain village; Ida carries a secret with her, but she will discovers that the village hides many more.
Described by the critics as a book that “hits like a knife and tugs at the reader’s heartstrings” (Satisfiction.eu), Silences follows in the footsteps of country noir literature (taking inspiration from Faulkner and McCarthy but also from newer authors such as Daniel Woodrell and David Joy) and brings the genre to a yet unexplored setting: a small village hidden deep in the Swiss alps.
Its powerful female protagonist, who despite an enigmatic acceptance of her cruel fate remains defiant and strong, takes readers by the hand and carries them into a new, secluded world, where danger lurks beneath the surface. Ida spends her days slaving away at the farm of her adoptive parents, but whenever she steps foot in the village, she can feel a palpable tension. Soon she learns why: the small community is still in turmoil because of the mystery surrounding the recent disappearance of a young man, which has opened old wounds.
As things at the farm take a turn for the worse, Ida sees a glimmer of hope thanks to her clandestine friendship with Noah, the Mayor’s son: a restless teenager who dreams of a different life, far away from the mountain. One morning, however, Ida happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and what she sees will change everything. She and Noah decide to flee together, but a series of sudden and unexpected events complicates their plans, forcing Ida to deal not only with her secret but also with those of the entire village.
Clocking in at 50’000 words, Silences is taut yet densely plotted, a fast read that’s filled with twists and turns. The sparse, evocative prose ensures that not a single word goes wasted as the secrets slowly come to the surface, setting up an ending that feels at the same time inevitable and utterly surprising.
The novel mixes drama, mystery and historical fiction (it pays great attention to its setting and to the phenomenon of the “borrowed children”, one of the blackest page of recent Swiss history) to create an intrigue that will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including fans of modern psychological thrillers.
Silences has been praised by critics for being “fast paced and engrossing” and for being able to “use the past to shed light on the present”. Bestselling novelists Sara Rattaro and Joseph Incardona have described it as “A dive at high altitude, a journey for freedom where a rich plot meets the natural explosion of emotions” and as “one of those anonymous tragedies that, once read, become literature and are never forgotten.”
Luca Brunoni was born in Lugano, Switzerland, in 1982. He has studied Law as well as English and American literature, and works as a lecturer in a Swiss business school. “Silenzi” is his second novel.
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