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Silent Hearts

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  145 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
“Highly recommended, especially for fans of Khaled Hosseini.”— Library Journal (starred review)

"A rich, haunting, immersive story of cultures at the crossroads—deeply moving. A heart-smashingly good read, the kind of novel you’ll want to share with your book club."—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Love and Other Consolation Prizes and Hotel on the Corner of
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published July 24th 2018 by Atria Books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Angela M
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

This story is a powerful reflection of post 9/11 from multiple perspectives and it gave a view that we didn’t always see from this side of the world when the war was going on in Afghanistan. Most of the novel takes places there as Liv and her cad of a husband Martin, a man with a dead end academic career takes a job at an NGO in hopes of achieving the professional recognition he thinks he deserves. Liv takes a job with the organization as well, in hopes of helping the poverty stricken
Theresa Alan
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a powerful novel. It begins just before the 9/11 attacks and follows the story of an educated Pakistani woman, Farida, and an American woman, Liv. Liv follows her husband to Afghanistan after the attacks because he thinks he can inject new life into his career as a professor and researcher. The fact that she’s female enables her to “help” him with collecting information talking to Afghani women, which really means she’s the one doing all the work. Farida is her interpreter.

These two wom
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 piercing stars to Silent Hearts! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Farida Basra is an educated Pakistani woman, and on top of that she has been working outside the home to help support her mother and father. Although they are all educated, her family’s finances are limited because of Farida’s grandfather’s decision to oppose the Partition of Pakistan from India.

Farida’s parents worry she will never marry. She has not been happy with any potential suitors. They finally take a “bride price” for her in exchange for her
Diane S ☔
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
What do we really know of living a life in a country that has been torn apart by war, for over thirty years? What do we know about their daily lives, their culture? This novel takes us into the heart of Afghanistan, shortly after the attack in the US of 9/11. Four main characters, two from Afghsnistan and two sent by the US, a husband and wife, ostensibly to find a way to help the Afghani women. The characters were not completely fleshed out, we learn just enough to keep the story moving.Rather ...more
Jul 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I don’t know why, but I expected Silent Hearts to tread more lightly, but it’s pretty hard hitting, especially as you get toward the end. The story focuses on two couples who’s lives intersect in Afghanistan soon after 9/11. Liv and Martin are from the US and go to Afghanistan to do work that is meant to help Afghani women. Farida and Sul have recently moved to Afghanistan from Pastikan, where Sul’s father runs a shady business and Farida works as an interpreter for the organization where Liv an ...more
Nikki (Saturday Nite Reader)
4.5 stars

I came across Silent Hearts during one of my many NetGalley searches and was lured in by the message that it would appeal to fans of Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns; my most recommended book. There is no doubt that Gwen Florio is an extremely talented writer. Her words created a setting in which I could easily visualize the scenes themselves (which is usually hard for me, I am more of a dialogue fan than description for that reason). Her years as a journalist - and experience
Susan Kennedy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written novel and one of my favorites of the year.

Journalist and author Gwen Florio has covered significant world events as a journalist and has been nominated three times for a Pulitzer. Her experiences and skill shine through with Silent Hearts, a book merging the stories of two distinct women from different worlds ending up in American-occupied Afghanistan. Florio uses her insight to craft a great story with unforgettable characters. Farida and Liv come alive. How each
Kathryn at Book Ink Reivews
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A copy of this review can be found at Book Ink Reviews.

Thank you to NetGalley, Gwen Florio, and Atria Books for this free ARC in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed herein are my own.

All the stars from my battered heart. In a nation Americans recognize as Enemy, where the government is corrupted and the majority of the people despise us, Silent Hearts us to join Farida and Liv into the daily living of Afghanistan.

Farida is an educated Pakistani. She speaks multiple languages, r
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
So good! Silent Hearts is a story of many things, but at its core is the narrative about how women become stone. I wanted it to be longer.
Paul Pessolano
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
“Silent Hearts” by Gwen Florio, published by Atria Books.

Category – Fiction/Literature Publication Date – July 24, 2018.

If you are looking for a three way clash of cultures this book will definitely be for you. It is an all too well look at the cultures of America, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

Farida Basra lives in Pakistan and would be considered a liberated woman, although Muslim she does not wear the burga and is educated. Farida’s life takes a drastic change when she enters into an arranged mar
Aug 02, 2018 rated it liked it
I had hoped this would be more about the friendship between Farida and Liv, but it didn't go as deep as I wanted with them. It gave me a better understanding of what the women of Afganistan and Pakistan go through.
Kati Berman
Jun 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. One of the previous reviewers stated, this was a powerful book, and I completely agree with that statement. Martin and Liv are an American couple working at an university. Martin is a professor of Asian studies, Liv is a researcher. After 9/11, Martin is interviewed about the situation in Afghanistan, his opinion is being sought out. Eventually he gets an assignment to go to Afghanistan to work on b
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Silent Hearts a novel by Gwen Florio was very descriptive, and has an intense storyline; it was like watching a movie. My curiosity of what will happen to the characters, made it difficult for me to put down this novel.

This stirring novel set in Afghanistan is about two women who form an unexpected friendship despite their utterly different life experiences and the ever-increasing violence that surrounds them in Kabul. The American aid worker Liv Stoellner and her husband take positions at an N
Dorothy Crocker
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Silent Hearts pulls you in and surprises you.

The story opens in Pakistan during August 2001 and centers on four characters. We meet Farida Basra, an educated woman who works as an interpreter in Islamabad. Gul Mohammad, an illiterate Afgani living in Peshawar, is chosen by Farida’s father to be her husband. They relocate to Kabul with Gul's family.

Next we meet Liv Stoellner, a mid-western American working as a researcher in a university library. She married her professor and is now living with
Mar 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A remarkable investigation into the Kuyber Pass between Afghanistan and Pakistan: those who travel it legally or illegally; those who fear it; those who flaunt it. Desperate families unsure of their homeland. A young woman, formerly living a Westernized life, is now in an arranged marriage and finds herself immersed in the illicit dealings of her new family. Her unexpected friendship with an NGO aid worker, herself disenchanted, will have unexpected and deadly consequences.

A truly remarkable lo
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Truly...such an incredibly poignant, powerful and important novel. Florio has given us two unforgettable women; their resilience pays tribute to all of the women in war-torn Afghanistan who suffer unspeakable hardships and heartbreak. Farida and Liv are simply remarkable, each struggling to balance fear and bravery, suffering and grace, love and loss.
Kaleena ★ Reader Voracious
This really wasn't the book for me but I cannot deny that Silent Hearts is beautifully written and incredibly powerful. This novel dive into post 9/11 Afghanistan through the different perspectives two couples (four people total) from very different cultures: Liv Stoellner is an American researcher that came to Kabul with her husband to work for an NGO to help women and Farida Basra is a Pakistani interpreter whose work Liv and the NGO heavily rely on... while she passes information about the Am ...more
Jim Crocker
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
SILENT HEARTS -- Gwen Florio

American aid worker Liv Stoellner and Farida Basra, an interpreter and an educated Pakistani woman find themselves working together in post-911 Afghanistan. Liv accompanies her husband, an academic with a pivotal role with an NOG called the Friends of Future. FOF’s mission is the “betterment” of Afghan woman in the aftermath of five years of Taliban rule.

Having lived and studied in London, Farida Basra becomes the bride of an illiterate Afghan man, the son of a wheele
Cary Epstein
Jul 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I had to take a deep breath after finishing this novel. What an ending.

I was drawn in by the cover-beautiful-and I'm so glad to see that the story is just as beautiful and provocative. The women are incredible--like the description said, they couldn't be more different. I went in thinking I knew what their lives would be like, but I was proven so wrong--and I'm glad for that.

Afghanistan comes to life. I appreciate the fact that the author didn't go out of her way to prove either Afghanistan an
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thanks to publisher and Netgalley for ARC. An insightful look into the lives of those living in Afghanistan. Strong female characters and an interesting plot. Excellent descriptions by the author to make you feel like you are in the story.
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads*

I really enjoyed this look at post-9/11 Afghanistan, and liked both the Afghani and American perspectives. The female characters were both wonderfully written.
Diane Dunn
Jun 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Netgalley the author and the publishers for a copy of this book. A riveting read, the first in my opinion on a par with “ A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini. Maybe it wasn’t gritty enough for some and perhaps skips over the darker side of living in Afghanistan but for me it gives a flavour of the everyday life of the NGO’s and that of the struggles of the Afghan women who are more westernised than you think. Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Jun 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Where to start with this one. I was hooked from the first few pages in which we are introduced to the various characters. I became invested in those characters in a really short time and with very little effort. The writing style is wonderfully fluid and richly descriptive which also helped me to immerse myself fully into the experience. I love reading books that involve other cultures and this one was no exception. I think the most surprising aspect for me was how emotional I was, especially to ...more
Jill Dobbe
Mar 27, 2018 rated it liked it
This was a powerful book that centered around two women, a westerner, and her interpreter from Afghanistan, their husbands, and life in the Middle East.

I found the book engaging and insightful. However, I was hoping for more about the relationship between the women, which I felt was touched upon only toward the end of the book, and the humanitarian work that they were involved in (or meant to be involved in). This turned out to be not that kind of a book, though.

I appreciated the author's backg
Jim Taylor
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have been of fan of Gwen Florio's writing ever since Montana was published. Her work continues to evolve and take new turns. This is Gwen in full voice, and she captures the beauty and the tragedy of Afghanistan as seen and spoken through the eyes and voice of a journalist. The work is informed by the time Gwen spent in the region and is her best yet.
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put it down- I liked it better than A Thousand Splendid Suns, and even The Kite Flyer, maybe because there is such a depth of understanding of women's lives, and full of such interesting detail. It's beautifully written and it left me wanting to read more.
Terri Bond
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very insightful book about Afghanistan ant two women from different backgrounds that formed a friendship. I enjoyed this book.
Martha Bullen
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
After hearing Gwen Florio speak at a book signing earlier this month, I couldn't wait to read this book. It's a compelling, suspenseful, nuanced portrait of life in Afghanistan shortly after 9/11 and the US invasion. Florio was a foreign correspondent who travelled to the region at this time period and had the opportunity to interview many local women and learn about their lives, which her male colleagues were unable to do. She was inspired to write a novel from Afghan women's perspective which ...more
Melissa Dee
Jul 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Florio writes an extaordinary story, where the internal lives of each of the characters is fully formed, and completely reasonable. Afghani, Pakistani, American, each character is self-consistent. But its when they start to interact that the magic happens.
Each pair-wise interaction is a logical consequence of the beliefs and lives of the couple in the pair. Couple, loosely speaking, because it isn’t just in the marriages, partnerships, and love affairs, but in the most casual
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Angela, Diane and Esil discuss 36 6 Jul 26, 2018 04:53AM  
ACPL Online Book ...: Found in translation 1 5 Jul 24, 2018 02:50PM  
Veteran journalist Gwen Florio has covered stories ranging from the mass shooting at Columbine High School and the trials of Oklahoma City bombers Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, to the glitz of the Miss America pageant and the more practical Miss Navajo contest, whose participants slaughter a sheep. She's reported from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, among other countries, as well as Lost Sprin ...more

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