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The Sound of Blue
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The Sound of Blue

3.26 of 5 stars 3.26  ·  rating details  ·  81 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The mesmerizing tale of an American woman’s quest for healing in a land of refugees, from the critically acclaimed author of The Virgin’s Knot

Holly Payne’s debut novel illuminated the mystical journey of a famed rug weaver living in southwestern Turkey. Her latest storyline immerses us in an even more hypnotic set of circumstances, capturing another fascinating young woma

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published December 29th 2004 by Dutton Adult (first published 2004)
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I appreciated the authenticity of this book. I just returned from Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro,and Slovenia. Our guides described the countries' sad history. The setting for this book is in a refugee camp in Hungary. The refugees are from Croatia. As I read the book, I could picture the scenes in Dubrovnik, Croatia. I heard the history repeated. The author describes the frightful times during the Homeland War (1990's) This novel describes how families are separated.....the prejudices among the di ...more
Lewis Weinstein
We went Dubrovnik this past summer, and I read The Sound of Blue just before arriving. It is a powerful tale of people trying to live under conditions of war in 1992. There are some truly moving interactions between the characters, all of whom are seriously flawed but striving for something good. The little boy, drumming through the dark night leaves a haunting image.

In Dubrovnik, we spoke to people who had lived through the fighting, and their stories deepened my understanding of Payne's novel.
The Sound of Blue centers around a real political conflict that was still a hot button issue in the media in 2005. Without that background, this novel would be your usual purple-prose schlock, but with it it's social commentary. The plot is so contrived and the characters are such diecut paper dolls - the beautiful redhaired coed "with a face that reminds you of others", the beautiful epileptic violinist, the beautiful teenage boy who drums out his feelings - that we can't possibly be supposed t ...more
Although the book was dark and depressing at times, it didn't stop it from being a very good read. Initially the book focuses on Sarah's time in the refugee camp in Turkey to teach English to the refugees. For the most part, I found Sarah to be an unlikeable and rather naive character. I'm not sure what she expected when she volunteered to go to a war ravaged country, so her reactions when she got to the refugee camp and it's dire conditions bothered me. Initially she seemed to feel more sorry f ...more
Sara C
This bookabout a girl named Sarah, she's just go out of highschool, and she wanted to enter to college, but she wasn't accepted. Her father was so proud of her cause she was going to college, but because of she did't get in, she get so dissapointed of herself and she din;t tell anybody about it. So one day she saw an announcement of teaching English in Hungary (there was a war in there) and she decided to go, to run out of her problems. But now she's afraid of all what she;s looking in the war a ...more
Yael Itamar
I knew nothing about the Yugosavian Wars of the 1990s before reading this book, and I appreciated the chance to learn a little bit about that conflict. However, I think a different writer could have handled this book a lot better. It was the prose that bothered me the most. While there were some pretty uses of language (“eyes shaped liked crescent moons”), I mostly found the language emotionally overbearing and chock-full of purple prose. It’s very difficult to relate to the refugees’ pain when ...more
Dana F
I cried reading this book. It has so much that I love: a mysterious past, desperate people, vivid descriptions, mysterious characters eventually converging, and eventual hope of self-forgiveness.
I liked that it was set in the middle of the war, rather than being about the war. It left things messy, uncomfortable, and closer to honest. It admits that conflicts don't just end.
The main character is admirable, even as she struggles, is lost, and eventually starts to face herself, she keeps her sens
This book revolved around war, people being held in a camp, the view from inside and outside the camp, and the search for loved ones. The characters were interesting and the story was intricately woven around all of them. All in all, it was a good book but it was emotional and somewhat depressing.
This was a pretty okay book with a really interesting plot. Reader beware though about 2/3 of the way through the "f" word is used and really it feels like the author just wanted to use it and it didn't really belong. (In my opinion it never belongs.) It also has a pretty unsatisfactory ending.
Trudy Huff
A young American women travels to Hungary to teach Kosovo refugees English in a camp run by a ruthless man. The author weaves a heartbreaking story around a young boy who got separated from his mother and she falls in love with a young Serb. She describes the city of Dubrovnik under siege.
This was a really good book. It had some language in it, but very moving. Gives you an idea of what it would be like to be a refugee. Makes you think about what you would do if you had no country, no family, no posessions and no where to go. You also realize you can be a refugee from yourself.
Heidi Thomas
Fascinating. I picked up the book on the basis of the title, and the story did not disappoint. One reviewer says, "To be savored like the dark intensity of Turkish coffee." I agree. It's poetic and evocative. I loved it.
God, this sucked. Not only were the ideas and situations trite, but the author used the phase "was suppose to" multiple times. And not just in dialogue, where you could blame it on dialect or something!
Sandy Reisenauer
holly Payne is a new favorite of mine. this is the story of a young american girl going to teach english in a refugee camp .
Found this one in a little hotel book exchange. could not have been more pleased!
a good book, but i didn't enjoy it....if that makes any sense.
Sally  Al Haq
it's a good one!

the plot is really intersting..
Just couldn't get into it.
I loved it. I thought the story was great, the charecters were interesting, but the transitions could have been smoother.
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Holly Lynn Payne is an award-winning, internationally published author, writing coach and founder of Skywriter Books, a digital press and publishing consultancy. She is the author of four books. Her third novel, Kingdom of Simplicity, based on true story of forgiveness after she was struck by a drunk driver, won the Benjamin Franklin Award and was nominated for a national book award in Belgium. It ...more
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“Where the rivers meet
you tell me of your black dreams.
Your memories make me uneasy.
But I listen because I know
my listening, like all other listening
allows you to heal.”
More quotes…