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The Sound of Blue: A Novel
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The Sound of Blue: A Novel

3.35  ·  Rating Details ·  110 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
A hauntingly beautiful new novel from the author of The Virgin's Knot.

Sara Foster has left America for the adventure of a lifetimeteaching English to the sons and daughters of statesmen in Hungarybut her idyllic adventure instead reveals a dark world of pain and redemption when she ends up teaching in a refugee camp. Sara discovers that one of her students is a celebrate

Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 25th 2005 by Plume (first published 2004)
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(showing 1-30 of 300)
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Lewis Weinstein
Sep 04, 2016 Lewis Weinstein rated it really liked it
We went to 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 nov
Oct 13, 2009 Kathy rated it really liked it
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
Oct 30, 2014 Jen rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-literature
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
Sally Atwell Williams
I liked this book, but I must say that it is very different from The Virgin's Knot. Different subject, different style of writing, I felt. It is about the refugees coming out of the Balkans into Hungarian refugee camps. It is the story of female college graduate who decided to go to Hungary to teach English, only to find that she was on a bus to a refugee camp on the border of what was Yugoslavia. This is a recent time period. There are three main characters: the teacher, Sara; the musician, Mil ...more
Mar 27, 2016 Julie rated it really liked it
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
Sep 30, 2008 Sara C rated it it was ok
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
Dec 19, 2012 Yael Itamar rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-adult
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
Apr 16, 2016 erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this, but the amount of typos was distracting and as others have mentioned it was definitely a bit predictable.
Benjamin Elliott
Apr 24, 2016 Benjamin Elliott rated it liked it
Shelves: owned-in-print
I really enjoyed the characters and the setting. I thought a lot of the details, particularly of life in the refugee camp were very interesting. I also thought parts of the story didn't fit together really great and were kind of a mess. I guess I would say I enjoyed it, but it could have been better.
Dana F
Aug 06, 2010 Dana F rated it it was amazing
Shelves: good-fiction
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
Jamie Holloway
Jul 15, 2016 Jamie Holloway rated it really liked it
Powerful book.
Aug 18, 2013 Liz rated it really liked it
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.
Aug 20, 2008 Christina rated it liked it
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
Apr 28, 2008 Trudy Huff rated it liked it
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.
Nov 03, 2009 Nicole rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 05, 2011 Heidi Thomas rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 12, 2007 Rachel rated it did not like 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
Oct 26, 2007 Sandy Reisenauer rated it it was amazing
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 .
Oct 13, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
Found this one in a little hotel book exchange. could not have been more pleased!
Aug 02, 2009 Ali rated it it was ok
a good book, but i didn't enjoy it....if that makes any sense.
Sally  Al Haq
Jul 29, 2010 Sally Al Haq rated it liked it
it's a good one!

the plot is really intersting..
Mar 23, 2016 Michelle rated it did not like it
Shelves: could-not-finish
Just couldn't get into it.
Oct 25, 2010 Erica rated it really liked it
I loved it. I thought the story was great, the charecters were interesting, but the transitions could have been smoother.
Kathe rated it it was amazing
Sep 21, 2016
R. marked it as to-read
Sep 14, 2016
Peter Jowers
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Christina Stoyanova
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Aug 13, 2016
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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…