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Silence in October
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Silence in October

3.67 of 5 stars 3.67  ·  rating details  ·  235 ratings  ·  40 reviews
After eighteen years of marriage, an art historian wakes up one morning to find his wife standing in the bedroom doorway with her bags packed, leaving him with no explanation. Alone in his Copenhagen apartment, he tries to make sense of his enigmatic marriage and life. Memories of driving a cab, quiet walks in the snow, and intense sojourns in Paris and New York pass throu ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 5th 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 534)
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Nick Schroeder
I came to this book by way of "Out Stealing Horses" because that was so well translated that I looked for other books by the translator, Anne Born. This is an excellent book in which the main character, a man, examines his life in light of his wife leaving him unexpectedly. Anne Born's rewriting of Grondahl's novel is excellent in the extreme. I've only read this once but intend to reread it.
Rowena
A lovely, introspective, quietly beautiful novel. A man wakes to find that his wife of 18 years is leaving him. At first, you sympathize with him in his bewilderedness, then as the narrative of his life unfolds, you start to understand the reason behind the separation. Memory, the man finds, is a tricky thing. You can go your whole life believing that something that happened to you was "right" and "good." But when faced with an alternative path that becomes very viable, your whole life falls und ...more
Kimberly Miller
Having lived in Scandinavia, I've developed a taste, evidently, for cultures that are hard to crack; I'm always seeking out the work of new Scandinavian authors to fall in love with. I return to Peter Hoeg's Smilla's Sense of Snow over and over (I've even begun shopping around an essay I wrote on that one); no other contemporary Nordic prose writer has moved me nearly so much.

Until now...perhaps. I'm re-reading Jens Christian Grondahl's Silence in October; I read it for the first time about a ye
...more
Crystal
I love grown up love stories and this one is written by someone with a deep understanding of love's vicissitudes. Grondahl pulls no punches - this is a novel about flawed people. For all that the narrator appears intelligent and thoughtful, he knows (as we do) that 'love loves without a reason', that even those we love and live with may retain a mysterious core, that we may never truly fathom their motivations. What the novel illuminates so beautifully is one man's attempt to honestly describe l ...more
Shari
Grondahl has a masterful way with words and an insightful talent for telling the story that happens between the mind and the emotions.

What is love? How do you know when you have it? When you feel? How do you know when you've lost it? This is the story of one man's attempts to discover these answers and his several failures to recognize love and hold onto it; his failure to understand when to let it go. This is also a story that displays intuitive and profound insights into the vast differences b
...more
Suzanne
Not a light read, this introspective of an abandoned spouse trying to find meaning in his life is heavy without being ponderous. Are we who we decide to be or are we who others think we are? Does the negative space in our lives mean as much as the positive? Full of interesting artistic references, and intelligent, lyrical writing, I wish I had given myself more than 2 days to read this for discussion. This is one to savor.
Digitaldolf
They say that something is always lost in translation. Unfortunately I can't read in Danish so I read this book in the Dutch translation. The translated version is so beautiful that I really wonder what it must be like in the original language. Of course, this is also meant as a compliment to the translator. I highly recommend this book and Jens Christian Grøndahl's work in general.

Er wordt gezegd dat er altijd wat in een vertaling verloren gaat. Jammergenoeg kan ik niet in het Deens lezen dus m
...more
Mew
Life changing... beautiful in parts, ugly in parts.
Jim
An author's wife leaves him and his grown-up children just as he is getting ready to leave for New York on business. (The book is mainly set in Denmark and is translated from the Danish.) The author tracks his wife's movements by watching her credit card transactions on his computer and he discovers that she is re-tracing a trip to Portugal they took together years ago. That's basically the plot. The rest of the book is a wonderful introspection of the author's life as he reflects upon his life ...more
Milan/zzz
Jens Christian Grondahl's stunning Silence in October could easily have been an embarrassingly mawkish trawl through the psyche of an artistic man in midlife crisis.
In fact, it is a hugely moving investigation into the nature of conversation, art and relationships.

The unnamed narrator is a Danish art critic who wakes one day to find his wife on her way out of the door; she looks at him as he rouses, tells him that she will be away for a while, and then leaves. His children have also only recentl
...more
Saranne

I read a few reviews of the book and have excerts of the reviews that I liked below - I think they sum up the book very well. I relate to the narrators view of life more than I would like.

"The narrator analyzes the superficiality of most social situations, and the conformity that has become essential to the maintenance of modern life. He despises the monotony of his life even when it is a pleasant one. He knows that the monotony has robbed him of himself; instead of being an individual he becom
...more
Erin
I just finished reading The Pilot's Wife, by Anita Shreve, and I think had I not read it first, I would've enjoyed this book much more. Although the specific events leading to the main characters' situations are different, the end result is the same: they are alone.

In The Pilot's Wife, Kathryn's husband dies in a plane crash, leaving her with many unanswered questions, the most important of which is how well did she really know her husband? In Silence in October, the main character wakes up one
...more
Steven
een vierenveertigjarige kunsthistoricus raakt in een geestelijke crisis als zijn vrouw hem verlaat. langsheen zijn herinneringen tracht hij het kluwen van het verleden te ontwarren, en raakt hij vast aan zichzelf: wie was hij toen hij zijn vrouw ontmoette, en wie was hij nadien, toen hij een andere vrouw ontmoette? prachtige, introspectieve roman die de noodzakelijke vragen over het leven stelt. Een topper wat mij betreft.
Karen
I read this book several years ago, and it reminds of the place we vacation every year, because I bought it and read it there. An unnamed Art Critic's wife, Astrid tells him that she is going away for a while. He doesn't any questions, and doesn't try to stop her from going. He finds himself going over every detail of his life and how it lead up to the moment of her leaving. This is a translated work, and it is still beautifully written.
Nancy Jurss
This is one of those books that I found difficult to read at first as I could not relate to the main character. His passivity was not something I had sympathy for. But as I continued to read I found myself drawn in more and more, reminding me that I don't have to like every character to like the book. It's hard to say "enjoy the book" when I found it mildly depressing to see this man just living his life instead of LIVING his life. I got the impression that his early childhood experiences caused ...more
Martine
Sep 15, 2007 Martine rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't mind if little actually happens in a book.
Silence in October tells the story of a forty-something art historian whose wife suddenly goes on a long holiday without him, unannounced. Unsure of whether she has actually left him, and if so, why, the man starts sifting through his memories, remembering their life together and away from each other and meditating on the meaning of, well, pretty much everything. Very little actually happens in the book; it's mostly a stroll down Memory Lane. Introspective, meditative and more than a little self ...more
sisterimapoet
Oct 31, 2011 sisterimapoet rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to sisterimapoet by: Mew
Shelves: fiction-2011
I wasn't sure what to expect from this, especially when I opened it and saw how nearly every page was packed with dense unbroken prose, little conversation. But the reading experience did not feel dense. The narrator moved me skillfully through time and space to escort me through his ponderings. Grondahl has perfectly captured the ways our minds work, how we go over and over things to try to make sense of them, how one memory inevitably has hooks into another. I felt like I could have read this ...more
Alexandra
Una dintre cele mai bune carti pe care le-am
Citit in ultima perioada!
Meg Tyler
it was thoughtful and thought provoking, but I just couldn't deal with the total lack of forward action and the main characters unrelenting self-absorption. if I actually knew this guy, I don't think I'd be Able to stomach him. didn't finish, which is rare for me.
Marlon
Took me quite a long time to finish but this is a very beautifully written book. Reads like a dairy actually which was why I didn't mind spending months with it. The passages can be sad but I liked those depressing passages the most.
Marianne
Well-written and interesting study of marital and social relationship over a long period of time. Raises a lot of questions and mostly leaves them unanswered, depending on the reader to develop his or her own insights.
Lorna
It is a well written but depressing. I picked this up again today months and years after starting it. It has sucked me in now. I am wrapped up inside the mind of the main character.
Kevin
May 02, 2011 Kevin added it
I didn't actually finish this book. Gave up. It's just not what I'm able to focus on right now, though it had some beautiful writing and ideas. Maybe I'll come back to it some day.
Stephanie Hall
This is a beautifully written book. It was translated, but looses nothing in the process. One of my favorite books. You almost need to read it twice.
Susan
I remember this being slow and sad, but I can't remember how much I did or didn't like it. I'll give it 3 stars to be on the safe side.
Tanja
Beautiful. A frightening testament to the potential loneliness of life and the difficulties love and relationships entail.
Darkwalker
A beautiful narrative. Don't expect a nice Hollywood ending (more along the lines of Camus).
Kristel
396 pages d'apitoiement sur soi, c'est environ 200 pages de trop...
Susanne
A devastating read...a month later, I haven't recovered.
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Jens Christian Grøndahl is one of the most celebrated and widely read authors in Europe today. He has written plays, essays, and eleven novels. The publication of Silence in October marks Grøndahl's U.S. debut. His novel Lucca was awarded the prestigious Golden Laurels Prize in 1999. He lives in Copenhagen.

Bibliography:

Kvinden i midten - 1985
Syd for floden - 1986
Rejsens bevægelser - 1988
Det i
...more
More about Jens Christian Grøndahl...
Lucca An Altered Light De tijd die nodig is Dat weet je niet Piazza Bucarest

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“I mused that time is not only a river, but a river that constantly breaks its banks so you must flee from it as it covers everything behind your back, flee into the future, empty-handed, dispossessed, as the river obliterates your footsteps with each stride you take, each time you pass from one moment to the next.” 3 likes
“Sometimes I think you take photographs instead of seeing, you forget to look in your eagerness to grasp what is seen, to capture it in time's flight. You are absent from your own pictures, not only because you took them yourself, but also because you betray the moments you want to save from oblivion.” 3 likes
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