Author: Eliza Henry Jones
In The Quiet is a touching debut by young Australian author Eliza Henry Jones. It is original, engaging and emotional, and told from a unique perspective.
The story is told by Cate Carlton, a recently deceased wife and mother of three who has been able to remain near her much loved family. For 280 pages we see her family through her eyes; watching them grieve, remember and slowly begin to heal. We also see her remember so that slowly all of the pieces come together for us to get to know the family and the life they shared before the tragedy that was Cate’s death.
The unique writing style made the flow a little disjointed and jumpy which was perfect for this story; it’s what it needed but I found the lack of chapters really frustrating. I couldn’t play just one more chapter and I found it really difficult to decide where to put the book down – not that I ever really wanted to.
Cate worries about her family, originally I think she lingers to ensure they are going to be okay but then worries that she will lose herself if she doesn’t stay with them.
In the beginning Cate doesn’t know how she died, so we can’t know how she died. I got the feeling it must have been quite quick for there to be no inkling of what may have happened and I wasn’t sure whether it would end up coming to light.
The story focuses on Cate and her immediate family but also those who are very close to them, those I would call the family they chose, and Cate’s sister and mother.
In the Quiet explores the unseen side of one of the lines everyone hears after they lose someone close to them. They are always watching over you, well Cate was definitely watching over them and wishing there was something she could do to ease their pain, some way she could make them reach out to each other.
The Carltons live on a rural horse property, and without Cate there doing her share things are becoming a little hard for everyone else to manage. Some chores it’s because they were her jobs, she was the only one that did them and it would feel wrong to be doing them, and others because no-one really had the motivation to do them.
Most of the extra characters we meet have come out to the farm to lend a hand, Laura the neighbour helps with the horses, Cate’s sister Bea comes in to do whatever she can and Bass’s friend Steve comes round just to see that Bass is hanging in there.
Cate’s unique perspective allows her to see what’s happening now, remember what has come before and look at things from a completely new angle and discover things that had been right there in front of her from the beginning; and as we share Cate’s perspective we learn of all these things with her.
Everybody grieves differently and everyone heals differently and that was addressed beautifully. I think the most heartbreaking element for me was the lack of proper communication. They were all there for one another but never actually sat down and really talked about what was happening or how they were coping.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to anyone. It is a well written and compelling debut tackling love, loss and healing head on but also in much more subtle ways with other characters as well. I think this was a risky perspective to write from and it could have created issues for the storyline but it was handled beautifully. Eliza Henry Jones is definitely going to be an author to look out for.
20 of our lucky readers are going to be reading In The Quiet as well so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.
In the Quiet is book #37 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.