Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Random Things Tours - The Silence

TITLE: The Silenve
AUTHOR: Susan Allott
PUBLISHER: The Borough Press
PUBLISHING DATE: August 6, 2020


Combining the emotional power and dual narrative style of 'Before We Were Yours' with the nuanced, layered, and atmospheric mystery of 'The Dry', a powerful debut novel revolving around a shocking disappearance, two neighbor families, and shameful secrets from the past that refuse to stay buried. 

It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney, Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father phoning from Sydney. Thirty years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Green's next-door neighbor Mandy disappeared. At the time, it was thought she fled a broken marriage and gone to start a new life; but now Mandy's family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla's father Joe was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and now he's under suspicion of murder. 

Isla unwillingly plans to go back to Australia for the first time in a decade to support her father. The return to Sydney will plunge Isla deep into the past, to a quiet street by the sea where two couples live side by side. Isla's parents, Louisa and Joe, have recently emigrated from England - a move that has left Louisa miserably homesick while Joe embraces his new life. Next door, Steve and Mandy are equally troubled. Mandy doesn't want a baby, even though Steve - a cop trying to hold it together under the pressures of the job - is desperate to become a father. 

The more Isla asks about the past, the more she learns: about both young couples and the secrets each marriage bore. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? What will happen to their family if Isla's worst fears are realized? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia's colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence? 

Deftly exploring the deterioration of relationships and the devastating truths we keep from those we love, 'THE SILENCE' is a stunning debut from a promising literary star.  

Have I told you how much I love dual timelines in novels?  Sure I have.  And this is another great example of how well that format works for me.  This book is definitely one to look at if you are looking for some diverse reads as it is set in Australia and even addresses some nefarious dealings with Aborigine babies.

Allott manages to take the facade of a beautiful neighborhood where anyone would be proud to raise a family and then deconstructs it piece by piece to showcase that looks are only surface deep.  On top of that, she has appropriately titled her book The Silence as it delves into the damage that secrets and keeping quiet can do to families and neighbors. I don't want to share too much as I think the synopsis above tells you just enough, and maybe even a tad too much.  This is a book I loved going into blindly.

I love how the author is not afraid to delve into Australian history known as "Stolen Generations" and it was both a history lesson and an eye opener for me.  I think it is an apt time in history to showcase books like this and I'm glad I read it and can share it with you.  The Silence is Allott's debut novel and I can't wait to see what she shares with us next!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Allott is from the UK but spent part of her twenties in Australia, desperately homesick but trying to make Sydney her home. In 2016 she completed the Faber Academy course, during which she started writing this novel. She now lives in south London with her two children and her very Australian husband.


  1. Thanks for the blog tour support Barb x

  2. The Atmosphere of The Dry hooked me rightaway. I'm impressed she dives into the Stolen Generations as well. It's an ugly part of our history that we need to acknowledge more.

    1. Living here in the US I'm all too aware of ugly history. I still need to read The Dry. I am glad to be finding more book set in Australia.

  3. That cover is so atmospheric and would definitely compel me to pick this up!