The Silent Land
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The Silent Land

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  2,378 ratings  ·  561 reviews
In a mysterious world of isolation and fear, award-winning author Graham Joyce spins a hypnotically dark and emotional story about a young married couple trapped by an avalanche in the remote French Pyrenees.

High in the mountains above a picturesque French ski resort, Jake and Zoe Bennett are alone on the early morning slopes when a nightmare crashes down upon them. With a

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Hardcover, 262 pages
Published March 29th 2011 by Doubleday (first published 2010)
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Community Reviews

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karen

i have always called graham joyce "jonathan carroll-lite." and there is nothing wrong with graham joyce - i keep reading his books, don't i? but they are always seem to take place in the same neighborhood as one of jc's tales, just missing a certain je ne sais quoi that jonathan carroll would have supplied. but this book is just ripped out of jonathan carroll's diary, man. this is like dean koontz trying to write a horror novel set in maine. you are setting yourself up for judgment, my friend, a...more
mark monday
youngish married couple go on a ski trip. avalanche! when they extricate themselves from the snow they find that everyone at their ski village has disappeared and that time now moves differently. what the hell?

here's a clue spoiler: (view spoiler)

fortunately, guessing the (entirely predictable) twists that come at the halfway and end points should not ruin the experience of reading this lovely and affecting book. unless you are the sort of reader whose experience rises and fall...more
Lou
An engrossing story that starts with a married couple caught up in an avalanche. From the cover and title you get the impression this is a post apocalyptic story, the only similarity to being that kind of story is that they are the only ones who seem to survive an incident in the whole village. All the holiday reps and tourists gone but everything seems eerie and strange. One strange occurrence is that there is an abundant supply of food in the stores and the meat does not go off. They try to sk...more
Will Byrnes
True silence. The freezing of all sounds. It wasn’t possible in the modern world, to listen to the sound of true silence. Perhaps not even in the ancient world, either: there was wind in the desert; insects in the depths of the forest; wave activity in the middle of the ocean. Nature did not tolerate silence. Only death accepted silence; and there was silence here.
In The Silent World, Graham Joyce’s eighteenth book and 2011 World Fantasy Award and British Fantasy Award nominee, a young couple,...more
Caroline
******ALL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW ARE HIDDEN******

It sounds almost post-apocalyptic, according to its summary: a married couple discovers they’re the only two people--and seemingly the only living creatures--remaining after an avalanche strikes the ski resort where they’re vacationing. Phone calls go unanswered, the Internet doesn’t connect, and the city’s boundaries may as well be electrified for all the luck they’re having trying to leave. All is so unfathomably quiet they can practically hear...more
Veeral
Terrible terrible book. A couple on their holiday retreat gets caught in an avalanche while skiing which they survive. When they return to their hotel, it’s deserted. The whole village is empty. They are alone. After some failed attempts to contact the outside world and some tries to get out by a car themselves, they decide that there is nothing else to do, so they ski, then they eat and have sex then ski again then ski some more and have more sex then ski ski ski ski... I have now decided that...more
Teresa
Not long after reading Some Kind Of Fairy Tale, I was at my local library branch and checked to see what else they might have by Mr. Joyce. This was it, and even with no blurb on its inner cover to give me a clue as to what it's about, I plucked it off the shelf. I was as unknowing of this novel's world as is the story's married couple after the first few pages. I suppose that added to the suspense, though I was able to figure out rather quickly where it was going.

As with Some Kind Of Fairy Tale...more
Shannon
Meh. Although this story had a good premise, the execution feel flat. Zoe and Jake were dull and two-dimensional; while the book jacket promises an illustration of the power of love, the story doesn't even come close. We never get the feel that these two have actual chemistry, and we rarely see any displays of emotion from either of them. The setting, while eerie at first, becomes dull as the story wears on. The characters express several times that, while it's only been a handful of days since...more
Natalie
Goodreads First Reads Giveaway book.

The cover of this book is totally fantastic. If you slip the dust jacket off, you're left with different letters of the title on the book and different letters on the dust jacket. I puzzled over the letters on each for a while, hoping to find a word hidden, scrabble-like, in the letters, but even my scrabble dominating life couldn't find anything interesting.

As for the book itself - it had atmosphere, I'll give it that. Unfortunately, we're stuck in our atmosp...more
Jason
Simply a stunning book to me. It so reminded me of a great Murakami novel. This novel stole me away, it is not often that I read a book in a sitting, let alone give up precious sleep to do so. This is an amazing story about love, life, perspective, and dreams. I was moved from the first word until the last. Jake and Zoe are very likable and their love for each other seemed to be nearly tangible. I loved the unfolding of the mysteries of the setting and the fact that much of this novel power come...more
Tara
May 05, 2014 Tara rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tara by: Gregor Xane
I enjoyed Some Kind Of Fairy Tale very much and wanted to read more of Joyce. The plot of Silent Land appealed to me: a married couple buried in an avalanche in the French Pyrenees, their escape and then their surreal survival story in the abandoned resort village. It took me some time, however, to warm up to the book. Even for me, it dragged at the start, and I missed the quality of prose writing and characterization I'd found in Fairy Tale. The plot was relatively easy to guess, and even thoug...more
Jenne
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelli
I would give this 4.5 stars. Loved it. I loved the setting. A couple on a ski vacation in France gets caught in an avalanche. The next thing they know they still have each other but are utterly alone. There are so many beautiful descriptions in this book. I was surprised a book with only two characters kept me so engaged. It was spooky, chilling and in parts heartbreaking. I wasn't quite sure what was happening for most of the book and found it hard to put down. Toward the end I figured out some...more
Marvin
I glad no one told me the ending or I wouldn't have read this. Even a hint of the ending would be a major spoiler so you will just have to take me at my word on this. Graham Joyce's forte is setting an eerie environment which he does so marvelously throughout this strange book. The best way to describe this work is "Couple with issues is trapped in situation defying logic and explanation". We are taken for the ride and I loved the way the author teased out various plot possibilities while keepin...more
Will M.
Would've been a 5 star, but the ending ruined everything.

The plot was simplistic at best, but the only bad thing about this novel was the ending. Sometimes simplicity works for some authors, but bad endings never will. If the author didn't make the ending as cliche as it was, I would've loved this novel. Such a shame, it was an enjoyable ride.

The characters were well developed for me . Zoe and Jake were really fun to read, so no problems with the characters. I'll be honest and say that everyth...more
Jasmine
HALFWAY DONE!

okay this book is an achievement, it's really there almost as good as thou shalt kill. Not so much the sci fi angle although that was interesting, but the character study was really well done.

this is probably the most true to life relationship I've ever read.

first lets detour and talk about my life. I'm in a very weird relationship with a guy I've been friends with for six years. He's one of my best friends, I love him, and I commonly tell him to go fuck off or take a time out. an...more
Martin Belcher
Jake and Zoe, two people deeply in love are on a skiing holiday in the beautiful village of Saint Bernard en Haut in the French Pyrenees, whilst up on the ski slopes they both get caught in a huge avalanche which buries Zoe alive. She manages after a few minutes to wiggle herself free and finally escapes from her snowbound cocoon to be reunited with Jake who mysteriously also survived the avalanche. They are both shaken by their ordeal and make their way back down to the village but find themsel...more
Stefan
Jake and Zoe are enjoying a ski trip in the French Pyrenées when, during an early morning ski run, they are trapped and buried alive by an avalanche. Miraculously, they manage to dig out of the snow and survive the ordeal, but when they finally make it back to their hotel, they discover that the place has been abandoned. What’s more, the entire village seems devoid of life. Has the area been evacuated, or is there something more mysterious going on? With no telephone or internet access, and the...more
Adam
The Silent Land is entirely about the plot scenario, and sadly all the initially eeriness which might have come with that is killed by the book’s jacket copy. That is, you know straight off what situation these characters are facing, and you do not “discover” it along with them. Also, the characters are little more than stick figures, serving only to walk us through the plot. Essentially, the first few chapters are just this (as noted by the jacket copy): they survive an avalanche and return to...more
Blair
This novella came complete with a plot that sounded so up my street, it might have been created for me - after narrowly escaping an avalanche in a skiing resort, a young married couple return to their hotel to find not only it, but the entire town, apparently deserted. Not only are they unable to find another human being, but all lines of communication are cut off and no matter what they do to try and get away, they can't seem to escape the eerie 'silent land' in which they appear to have become...more
Jessica
Too long and drawn out, it would have been much better as a short story. A disappointment...I don't know that I'll try anything else by this author. While the premise of the story was promising, there was nothing very original in the telling...it was tedious in places, predictable in its sentimental ending and in its allusions, heavy-handed.
Lisa
This book was unbelievable. I was so uncomfortable reading it, it was so eerie and spooky. I tried to make it last because the whole mood of the book was incredible. My advice is to not try to predict where it's going, just let yourself be taken for the ride. This was probably the best book I've read this year.
Kandice
Feb 26, 2014 Kandice rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kandice by: Lisa Eggers
Original story about a married couple that encounters an avalanche while skiing in Europe. The author had me on the edge of my seat throughout the story.
Gregor Xane
Excellent!!! Both extremely effective and affecting. Graham Joyce's writing is compulsively readable.
Julia
I've read other books by Joyce, who has a very dark sensibility in the realm of magical realism. This book makes me want to re-read those books, since I very literally could not put this one down after I got to the halfway point.

The plot seems simple enough--Zoe and Jake are a young couple on a ski vacation in the French Alps and are caught in an avalanche. But what Joyce does then is weave a story of love and loss in a magical web that is filled with both darkness and light.

Some of the most to...more
Cait
3.5 stars

I might have even given this 4 stars had I read it in winter. Does that sound weird? Some books are just seasonal to me, and this is definitely a cold weather book. I think it would have enhanced the experience.

Reading the first page, I was worried that Joyce's writing style (choppy and somewhat repetitive) would bother me too much to enjoy the story. Either his writing got better as the book progressed or I was just too engrossed to notice it anymore. This is a can't put it down / can'...more
Annika
A friend recommended this author to me, but not this book. I found the book by happy accident, and it sounded intriguing, albeit a bit Stephen Kingish...so hey, why not.

I read it in two days, and it's more of a novella with just 18 short chapters.

Zoe and Jake are married and on a holiday in France to ski. Zoe has a deep secret she is afraid to reveal to Jake. They've been married 10 years. They hit the slopes early one morning, before any crowds, and an avalanche swamps them. Buries them alive,...more
Liviu
A book that I would call disappointing though it was well written; it is just that the story has been done so many times and it is so cliched that I could not find myself to care a jot about the two main characters; the other main niggle is the utter solipsism of the book except at the ending explanations - you could have the same book set in a dream, there is simply no reality to the characters besides themselves and that lack of anchor made me think: who cares? these are paper people and they...more
Susan
Personally I am glad I did not read any reviews of this book before I read it. It is best enjoyed with no one else's opinions in mind.

Zoe and Jake are on one of many ski vacations, but this one is more important than usual, although only Zoe knows why it is so special. Caught in an avalanche, they climb out into a "silent land". Everything happens the same almost every day and then it doesn't. Things begin to change. A horse appears and then disappears, a phone rings and the same voice is heard...more
Tara Palen
Another Graham Joyce book done in a matter of weeks, think I've found a new author to follow! Loved this one just as much as Some Kind of Fairy Tale. Can't say much about it without giving too much away, and this is a book where you really don't know what is coming next. It starts out very Stephen King-esque, and reminiscent of an old Twilight Zone episode, but the twists and turns go from scary to poignant to terrifying to sweet, sometimes all on the same page. Towards the end it turns more int...more
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Graham Joyce is an English writer of speculative fiction and the recipient of numerous awards for both his novels and short stories.

After receiving a B.Ed. from Bishop Lonsdale College in 1977 and a M.A. from the University of Leicester in 1980. Joyce worked as a youth officer for the National Association of Youth Clubs until 1988. He subsequently quit his position and moved to the Greek islands...more
More about Graham Joyce...
Some Kind Of Fairy Tale The Tooth Fairy Dark Sister The Facts Of Life The Limits of Enchantment

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“They were an end-of-days couple, not naked in a garden but wrapped in layers in a snow-covered landscape where there were no more apples on the trees and women would no longer have to take the blame because the old lie had been covered over by snow.” 8 likes
“The blood in my veins is frozen but it sings of love.” 5 likes
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