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Painter of Silence


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An intimate and devastating portrait of Romania during and after the Second World War, through the prism of a moving and utterly original friendship Longlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012.

About the Author

Georgina Harding is the author of two novels: The Solitude of Thomas Cave and The Spy Game, a BBC Book at Bedtime; and two works of non-fiction: Tranquebar and In Another Europe. She lives in London and the Stour Valley, Essex.


Conjures a tale that recalls vintage Michael Ondaatje ... delicate and sweeping * Daily Mail *
This is fiction of the most graceful kind ... a quiet storm of imagery and emotions -- Christian House * Independent on Sunday *
I loved Painter of Silence. It was like entering a dream world that became more and more real, until I actually needed to get back to it. Her writing is so gentle and beautiful and takes you so confidently on a journey. I let myself be carried away. Heaven * Esther Freud *
Painter of Silence insists on being recommended because of its unassertive originality, its sense of history, its knowledge of the unsaid and the unsayable, and - not least - its delightfully surprising ending -- Paul Bailey * Independent *
Harding writes with exquisite restraint ... Her deceptively simple prose gives a startling beauty to the ordinary, and evokes great depth of suffering * Guardian *
Harding's writing has a careful, lilting fluency which nourishes a slow-burning momentum ... an adroit examination of our need for a home, and the terrible consequences of its loss -- Philip Womack * Daily Telegraph *
A must-read ... Hauntingly beautiful, for fans of The English Patient -- Viv Groskop * Red *

Harding's well-crafted new novel (after The Spy Game) is the touching tale of a deaf mute, a young nurse, and a brief love overshadowed by WWII. In the early 1950s, Safta discovers a man slumped on the steps of the hospital where she works, in the Romanian town of Iasi. Though he cannot hear or speak, she remembers him from their childhood together: Safta and her family once lived on a grand estate in Poiana before the war, and this man, Tinu, was the son of the cook. Despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two developed a deep friendship. In 1939, when Tinu and Safta are 16-years-old, an entrancing Romanian raised in France arrives at the manse and captures Safta's heart. Throughout the summer, Tinu silently observes Safta and Andrei's blossoming romance. But then war descends and changes everything. Now, reunited at the hospital, Safta and Tinu relive the past through Tinu's totemic drawings of the people and places his quiet presence has graced. Harding effortlessly alternates between pre- and post-WWII, and her expert pacing lends a moving solemnity to the proceedings. Agent: Broo Doherty, Wade & Doherty Literary. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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