Pedro ZARRALUKI

La historia del silencio

Anagrama, 1994 / RBA, 2007

Translations

(Italy, Neri Pozza); (English World Rights, Hispabooks)

Awards

-HERRALDE PRIZE 1994

Press

«Just in the space of the initial sentence, Zarraluki builds suspense and arouses the reader’s curiosity (…) The subtlety and swiftness with which the author draws the characters and their relationships at the beginning goes a long way. (The story) is romantic, picturesque, funny, troubled… A lovely book which is accessible without being predictable, engaging and, ultimately surprisingly sweet.»
Anne Posten, Words Without Borders

«A novel of love and personal connection –the silences and absences between lovers the negative space that Zarraluki uses to suggest what else might be there (…) In its calm, controlled narration, it´s surprisingly resonant. A well-written and nicely conceived novel.»
M.A. Orthofer, The Complete Review

«Zarraluki is a refined and ironic storyteller.»
Nicoletta Polla Mattiot, La Reppublica

«An unusual and fascinating work that goes into the depths of passion, tenderness of feelings and reveals the true essence of people, without formalities, with a simple cut that goes straight to the point.»
Erminio Fischetti, Fuori Le Mura

«Impeccably written. Reading that turns into pleasure, a game with no rules, from the first to the last line.»
N. Marra, El País

«The oxymoronic contrast between story and silence makes the pages of this exciting, somewhat unorthodox novel fly by (…) Unpredictable, ironic, incisive and erotically charged, Zarraluki takes firm hold of the reader’s attention (…) Its faultless prose ensnares the reader, coiling around him like a snake.»
Grazia Giordani, L’Arena

«A flawlessly written novel (…) A book that reflects on beauty and the dangers of silence, on the petty secrets and shameful betrayals that lie beneath every love affair.»
Il piccolo

«A hugely stylish account of nights out with friends, betrayal and shameful desires and sorrows, a portrait of feeling in every shade of grey.»
Giovanna Zucconi, Vogue
«
The novel is a meditation on the space that emerges from the bewitching absence of sound and examines the full range of feelings, the beauty and the danger of a silent soul, without overlooking the role played by secrets  (…) written in a straightforward style with a striking sense of rhythm.»

Valeria Santori, Conquiste del lavoro

«The twin themes of this novel are love and silence. This book is a delightful discovery. Not a page goes by without some splendid, thought-provoking turn of phrase, carrying the reader effortlesly towards the end. A great shame, for one immediately begins to hanker after its characters.
Humberto Posada, Libélula Libros (Colombia)

«With humour, tenderness and infinite delicacy, with discrete elegance, with a soft brilliance and an incredible sense of balance and harder still, with an unusual cultural charge and yet entertaining at the same time, here lies a contemporary tragedy that refuses to speak its own name...»
Rafael Conte, ABC

Synopsis

(The Story of Silence) The two main charactes in the story, a writer and a publisher romantically involved, have a sudden and funny idea while driving through a deserted landscape: “Why not write a book about silence?”.  As the book grows, including stories of friends, questions ("why is silence awkward at a dinner with friends but not on top of a mountain ?") , quotations from philosophers and writers, anecdotes about African tribes… the writer and the publisher stop talking to each other, as if they themselves became objects of their research. Their story seems to come to an end, but a new idea, an exciting new project reconciles them.

This novel is about yet another book that was never written, and also about all of the things that we hide from those people who think to know us well. With the splendid gallery of characters that inhabit the novel, the author displays his implacable sense of humour and shows us to what extent life is a comedy under the constant threat of a tragic ending. Laughter, which we use to scare away silence, is the most elegant way of forgetting for a moment how close that danger is. This is something the series of characters whose lives are intertwined in this book know well.

A work that reflects on the beauty and the risk of silence, on small unmentionable secrets and betrayals that lurk behind every love.