The Rest Is Silence
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The Rest Is Silence

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  59 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Eco-terrorism and future shock in an epic tale that travels from New York to Nova Scotia. North Mountain, Nova Scotia. An unnamed hermit lives off the land. He tries to find love and community in this place he has decided to call home and to shake off the ghosts that haunt him. Even in his newfound domestic bliss he can’t let go of his past and starts to tell his story as...more
Hardcover, 329 pages
Published April 13th 2012 by Goose Lane Editions (first published January 1st 2012)

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The Lorax by Dr. SeussDouble Bind by Seb KirbyProdigal Summer by Barbara KingsolverWatership Down by Richard AdamsThe Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey
Eco-Fiction
84th out of 132 books — 159 voters
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret AtwoodAnne of Green Gables by L.M. MontgomeryLife of Pi by Yann MartelWater for Elephants by Sara GruenA Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Best Canadian Literature
450th out of 647 books — 531 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-29 of 195)
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Zara
The Rest Is Silence is an ambitious debut novel by Scott Fotheringham, a specialist who holds a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from Cornell University.

But, don’t let that snippet of biography alarm or mislead you into thinking that Fotheringham can’t write literary fiction. He can. And he did. And won the H. R. (Bill) Percy Prize prior to its publication. And rightly so.

This debut novel, which makes The Rest Is Silence an even more spectacular success regardless of its acclaim through the...more
George Ilsley
An unusual and moving novel. Refreshing to read fiction written by someone who is not a product of the creative writing machine. That said, however, there is a fine line in fiction when adding convincing detail. Fotheringham crosses the line a couple of times, adding so much detail the scene is unimaginable. When one is doing something in a lab, the process needs to be described so that a person can glimpse it, but not in so much detail that another genetic engineer can reproduce the experiment....more
Therese
This is a rare and exceptional novel, and I would like to thank Goodreads First Reads for the opportunity to read it. Scott Fotheringham has united his PhD in genetics and molecular biology with an eloquent written flow of understanding our cumulative ecological, and psychological dystopic human condition. This novel reaches for and exposes a deep insight into who and what we are, what we seem to choose to be,and what we will and do leave behind without goodbye when we are gone; until the last v...more
Chris
My bias is strong on this one because Scott is not only a dear friend, he was also part of my writing group for a time. I read an earlier draft of this book's opening and had some insider knowledge of events that for most readers would have been revealed much more slowly. Further to this, Scott and I share a similar worldview, and he deals with many of the same themes that consistently occupy me. So it's no surprise that I loved his book.

Having said all that, in as objective a tone as I can mus...more
Shannon (Giraffe Days)
In an alternate present-day, an unnamed young man begins to carve out a subsistence living on a plot of land abandoned by loggers in the forested mountains of Nova Scotia. While food supplies dwindle because of plastic-eating bacteria unleashed in the world, devastating everything from medical equipment to debit cards to the plastic waste clogging the earth, he works the thin soil, plants food and sleeps in a tent.

Not completely isolated, he meets an oldish man called Art whose wife, Louise, li...more
Annie
Apr 22, 2012 Annie added it
I am going to abstain from rating this one... Being married to the author does result in a slight bias!! Please read and rate it though, I think it's a fabulous novel.
Erin Hopkin (née Rayfield)
I really enjoyed this book and am grateful to the author Scott Fotheringham and Good Reads for sending it to me through the First Reads giveaways. This 4 stars is actaully more like a 4.5 stars, but we dont have half star options!

What I liked:

The character development. I think the best part about this book was getting to know the characters throughout the book. The way their backgrounds were woven into the story and the relationships between all the characters was stunning. This book truely revo...more
Jolene
I received this book through the giveaways and was first drawn to it because it is Canadian.
It is unlike any other book I have read. It is clear from the beginning that the author has something to say about our world and what we are doing to our environment. The characters deal with many themes besides this, some taking me by surprise.
The main character leads us through a couple of different stories and as the stories unfold we learn more about why he has come to Nova Scotia, to live almost as a...more
Sarah
Apr 10, 2012 Sarah marked it as to-read
Shelves: first-reads, giveaway
Excited to read this. The last post-apocalyptic novel I read was a disappointment, so I'm hoping this will remedy that situation. Thanks to Scott Fotheringham and the First Reads program for sending this over!
Lianne Burwell
The Rest is Silence is a novel from a small East Coast Canadian publisher, that to be honest, I'd never heard of before. If the rest of their books are similar quality, I will have to check them out.

This book falls into the category of slow apocalypse, or soft apocalypse, written in the first person from the point of view of a man who has bought land in the backwoods of Nova Scotia, and is now living in a tent and trying to eke out a living from this land. But between his battles with mosquitos...more
Josie
May 05, 2012 Josie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Josie by: goodreads
I received this book through Goodreads First Reads giveaways.
This book successfully marrys detailed science with deep character development and in doing so Scott Fotheringham did something that many authors shoot for but miss. The characters grabbed my attention and my heart from the beginning and every day I looked forward to finding out more about my new friends. As someone who appreciates science I admired the detailed use of science in this novel. I know some people will find the science par...more
Dianne
I loved this book until the last few chapters where I felt the author stepped down from the excellent prose of character studies and profound contemplation of the state of the earth and our part in it as humans that he had established and instead went for the "big reveal" that was unsuccessful for me because it was neither a surprise nor necessary as a surprise in terms of the impact of the novel. I can't be more specific without spoilers, so I'll leave it at that. And I felt that the origins an...more
Judy
Enjoying a most excellent summer read.
Scott Fotheringham
Apr 13, 2012 Scott Fotheringham added it  ·  (Review from the author)
I can't really say, can I?
Kristilyn (Reading In Winter)
There’s a certain kind of book that scares the living daylight out of me. I’ve read dystopian books and post-apocalyptic books and I deal with them just fine, but it’s those books that deal more within the present day and with things that could actually happen that terrify me. Without a doubt, The Rest is Silence, by Canadian writer Scott Fotheringham, is one of those.

Admittedly, the book starts off slow. We meet the main character who lives in a tent, surrounded by trees. We’re never introduce...more
Derek Newman-Stille
Memories are a significant part of our experience, particularly when things are changing rapidly. Scott Fotheringham’s "The Rest is Silence" is a novel about rapid changes – personal, social, and environmental. Two narratives intertwine in this novel: that of a man in the Nova Scotia woods who has learned to live off of the land and an earlier narrative of a woman who is obsessed with getting rid of plastic from the world. She eventually succeeded and the man in the Nova Scotia woods is coping w...more
Nancy
This was an interesting read, the authors first novel. Nice to be reading an emerging Canadian author. It is a story about relationships - beginning and ending - with lots of questioning of the characters about death, especially the death of loved ones.

It is a story that takes place in nature, between Nova Scotia, Maine and New York.

The author has a PhD in molecular biology so I learned a few things (as much as I could take in) about this subject while reading.

Most of the story takes place out i...more
Deodand
3.5 stars. I found this book to be pleasingly original, covering subjects that fiction doesn't usually tackle. I had some minor problems with the character development, though. Wouldn't a person who has studied plastic so intensely, over the course of decades, recognize that it has its place in saving and improving lives? I feel like a molecular biologist would have a better view of the unexpected consequences of their actions on a large scale. Perhaps the protagonists' other problems were obscu...more
Jane
I thought this would be an environmental survivalist story and for the first 200 pages or so, it was. Then it got weird and the focus seemed to change and wasn't interesting to me. I would not recommend this book.
Ronan O'Driscoll
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Melanie
The book got off to a slow start and the continued use of complicated scientific language made the book boring at times, but it was well worth continuing for the twist that the end.
Laura Scherer
Interesting! Tackled a lot of issues, but well done! Nice twist at the end.
Sean Maguire
Engaging and compelling and dark. Surprisingly enjoyable, for Can-Lit. And I almost know the author!
Martha
I really enjoyed this book - great read and gives you lots to think about.
Hello_peggles


This book was intense! Thought provoking, unusual read.
Lisa
Ugh!! I just couldn't finish it....
Clare Cannon
Jul 10, 2012 Clare Cannon marked it as grg-reviewer
HS to review @ www.GoodReadingGuide.com
Geraldine
Geraldine marked it as to-read
Aug 01, 2014
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“We make things happen be believing they will," he once said to me. "We dream where we're headed, and one day, as if entering that dream, we arrive there".” 3 likes
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