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Painter of Silence
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Archive Read > August Archive Book Painter of Silence

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message 1: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val Welcome to the discussion thread for August.
Our book from the Archive is Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding


Penny | 680 comments Mod
I am about a third of the way through this - I have it on audio in the car. Its quite slow but building well. The writing is rather understated but draws you in - I have never read this author before. (and I seem to be saying that for every book we choose and there's me thinking I was fairly 'well-read'!!


Susan I have started this and it is very beautifully written. It is slow, but I don't mind books which are atmospheric, building on character, rather than plot driven.


Penny | 680 comments Mod
I have finished this - I almost felt like the whole book was a beautiful scene with great detail and colour that was draped in mist!! By the end I find I never really understood all that has happened - it is all shrouded without really being gone into. The characters too feel almost shadowy - and yet, the writing is superb, the scope of the novel is moving, the setting, the changes, the tragedy - but I didnt really care that much because of the mist!!!
Will be interested to hear your POV Susan.


Susan I know what you mean, Penny. It is literally like a painting, isn't it? It almost doesn't matter what happens :)


message 6: by Val (last edited Aug 14, 2014 01:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val I am enjoying it so far.
I have a few thoughts:
How can you communicate clearly without words?
I think the author is deliberately making the book vague, fuzzy, mist-shrouded and slow because she is trying to convey that lack of precision in trying to communicate. There is plenty of rich sensation in the other senses, which she conveys, but words and language are the means we use to explain them to each other.
This may mean it is not the best book to read for a history of Romania, although it is a country where the history is all a bit fuzzy on both the pro-German and pro-Russian sides.


Susan Having finished this, I would rate it 3.5. I thought it was atmospheric, evocative and beautifully written; like viewing events through thick fog. Val, you might be right in saying that the book is deliberately fuzzy to show the difficulty in communication. I enjoyed it, but didn't love it.


Penny | 680 comments Mod
Susan wrote: "Having finished this, I would rate it 3.5. I thought it was atmospheric, evocative and beautifully written; like viewing events through thick fog. Val, you might be right in saying that the book..."

good point Val - how do you communicate without words - yet he did have some writing and I would have thought with the opportunities he had someone could have taught him to read words. At times Tino came across as 'slow' when I wanted him to show his intelligence and abilities far more - being deaf and mute should still have meant he was a man not a child during most of the narrative. He is treated all the way through as someone who is vulnerable, needs protecting etc and yet I felt that someone in his situation would still be able to assert themselves. I do know some deaf people who have profound speech difficulties and they manage in society extremely well. Although this is set in the past its not Victorian and the family who took an interest in him were well educated and wealthy.
I did like the idea of it being like a painting - but a painting of a mist shrouded scene!


message 9: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val I agree Penny, he was given opportunities to learn to read and write and only ever managed a few words. I'm not sure Tinu was always all that interested in communicating with people, but it may be that he was more handicapped than just his deafness.


Diane I really liked the book a lot. I kept hoping it would turn out to be based on a true story and the art he created is in a museum somewhere.
Interestingly, I didn't see any vagueness or mistiness. That probably has something to do with the personalities of each of us readers. I'm a more technically oriented person and saw a very clear but poignant story.


Penny | 680 comments Mod
Diane wrote: "I really liked the book a lot. I kept hoping it would turn out to be based on a true story and the art he created is in a museum somewhere.
Interestingly, I didn't see any vagueness or mistiness. ..."

we must have responded very differently to the characters then Diane - I could not hear Tino's 'voice' in any sense - he felt like a pre-verbal child to me. I wanted to know more about his background, his trauma, his loves and losses. Just goes to show how different we all are in our responses to things!


Diane Our reactions do show our differences. :-)


message 13: by Val (new) - rated it 4 stars

Val Tinu's inability to communicate was a key part of the book for me. The few times he tries to use his art for someone else they can't get the details. He can touch people with it on an emotional level, but it is an entirely different type of interaction from talking to someone.
There are quite detailed instructions for how he created his pictures and figures, so it should be possible to recreate some of them and get an idea of what they were like, or perhaps use his methods on the things and people around us.


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