The Rest Is Silence

Carla Guelfenbein
Portobello Books
May 2011

A claustrophobically, atmospheric and bleak novel that identifies each section's voice by means of a symbol. I was deeply intrigued at the start of the novel, particularly by the voice of Tommy, a boy with a weak heart, but as the book develops the reader becomes more involved with the character of Tommy's heart-surgeon father and with Alma, the woman now married to him, Tommy's mother having committed suicide at some point in the past.

The book floundered somewhat in its middle section, and I struggled to stay with it. I'm not sure the downbeat conclusion repaid the effort.