A novel which looks at different forms of home and homelessness, married life and parenthood abroad. About how easy it is to lose your own identity without a home.
The novel The Other Side of Silence not only looks at the home as a place that keeps us anchored, its various forms and the ways it can be lost (homelessness, migration, exile, moving house, temporary accommodation, expulsion) but also at a wide range of social problems: refugees, politics, religion and history, and our prospects for the future. However, it also encompasses the variety of personal relationships that are governed by the interests of multinational corporations, obtrusive family histories, the gulf between continents and the clash between “small and great history”. Memories of places and the experience of them release a flood of nostalgia for an earlier life and people, for the closeness that recedes when we leave a familiar place. The town of L., which bears a striking resemblance to Lyon, where the author lives, is described from several perspectives: that of a nouveau-riche entrepreneur as well as a homeless Czech woman called Anděla.
The framework of the book is provided by the Notes of a Free Young Man, in which a man from L., who is supported by his wife and takes care of the family, decides to write a novel, which takes up about three-quarters of the book. The story he is writing is called The Other Side of Silence. The complex web of thematic threads and the ingenious metatextual game are held together by the detached view of the narrator (the young man).
“This is an honest, non-opportunistic and probing work of prose. In addition, it is written in a seemingly inconspicuous and unpretentious yet functional language.”
“Topography, geography, place. This is a novel about the impossibility of finding yourself without a fixed point and, conversely, about the impossibility of finding yourself without abandoning that fixed point. […] about distant homes which we think we know so well without noticing how much they have changed in our absence.”
Harvard University Preceptor in Slavic Languages and Literatures