BOOK CLUB: The Silence

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The Silence is a short novel written by Don DeLillo.  It is a quick, easy read with an eerie, strange feeling that captivates you throughout the book. 

2022, Diane Lucas and Max Stenner are waiting in their Manhattan apartment for friends to arrive for their Super Bowl party. Tessa Berens and husband Jim Kripps are flying home to NJ from Paris to attend the party but don’t make it as their plane crash lands.

It is a miracle that all passengers survive and with minor scrapes.

Martin Dekker, one of Diane’s former students, is the only guest to arrive. Without warning the entire world’s technology systems shut down. 

Silence begins as no one can use any electronics, are in complete darkness with no idea what is happening, and no explanation given. It is a pandemic which raises anxiety for those that are so dependent and rely so heavily on the internet and phones to function.

People are forced to look at their lives and have conversations with each other, reflect alone and separate from an online persona to who they really are.

This book will make you think about how you would react if technology shut down. Our smartphones, laptops, and other such gadgets have become a part and parcel of our lives, things that we somehow cannot live without.

For me it was a good reflection to look back on my childhood free of computers, mobile phones and all that generations have today, it made me appreciate my freedom, creativity and playing outdoors even more.

Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia

ISBN: 9781529057096 / Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club members are reading The Silence. You can read their reviews below, or add your own comments.

8 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Silence

  1. I was excited to read Don DeLillo’s new book ‘The Silence’. I’d heard good things about his literature but had never read any, so was thrilled to be chosen for this in the Beauty & Lace Book Club. Unfortunately this one did not resonate with me. It was easy enough to read (in a glorious typewriter font) and quite slim, so reading it in one sitting is achievable. The story, however, is most unusual and fairly obtuse. It seems that some catastrophic event, maybe even an end-of-world catastrophe, suddenly occurs in Manhattan on Superbowl Sunday, 2022. But we never do find out what happens, it is completely vague and almost incidental to the story. We follow mainly two couples and a single man as they react. The first couple are in a plane and about to be served ‘tea and sweets’ when the plane crashes. The second couple and the single man, as it turns out, are waiting for the first couple for a dinner party, when all power and communications suddenly go out. It becomes more bizarre from there. What I would have expected would be people struggling to make sense of the situation and morph into survival mode. Instead the book becomes almost a stream of consciousness ramble as the characters seem to ignore the massive elephant in the corner, and almost proselytize about various odd things, including baseball, which seem completely unrelated to the ‘event’. I think the main thing missing from this book is human connection. Each character seems insular and uncaring about most of the others, and/or has agendas that are either decidedly odd, or something we can’t really relate to. The ‘event’ seems to be almost ignored, apart from its inconvenience. And so the heart of the book misses its audience: empathic humanity, and how we relate to each other in a crisis. However, I also suspect this is indeed the book’s goal: to be a cautionary, haunting tale about how we relate to each other, and how things can change in an instant… Many thanks to Beauty & Lace Book Club and Pan MacMillan Australia for the chance to read this book. As I said, it’s not for me, but I imagine it will resonate with many.

  2. This book The Silence by Don DeLillo is a quick and easy read. This is not normally the type of book that I would read, as the format and style I am not really used to.
    I believe it is something set in the not to distant future about a blackout.
    The book concentrates on a couple in a unit that invite a man over to watch Superbowl. But shortly after the beginning of the game, comes the blackout.
    I actually found this hard to follow, so my review is going to end here.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace.

  3. First I want to say the font in this book was fantastic it’s so big and clear I didn’t need my glasses to read it! It’s very thought provoking no technology! Like traveling back in time when we had to converse talk be our true selves. The characters seemed disconnected, but I think that was the authors way of conveying what technology has taken from our lives !
    It’s a book I will be thinking about for some time.

  4. Phoarrrr um I am just not sure what to say about this book – The Silence by Don DeLillo. I had heard wonderful things about this author and reading the blurb about this book I was excited. It was built up to be something quite eerie and thrilling. After reading it though I am left confused and feeling a bit out of sorts. I just did not understand it! You never found out what the actual event was or even what happened on the ‘dramatic flight’. All you know is that some sort of blackout seems to occur where all technology goes down which I’m guessing results in the plane crashing, but no-one seems to remember or focus on that. Instead, random things are noticed and talked about that just don’t make any sense or seem to have any relevance to anything. The language used was so far beyond my understanding I found it tiring trying to work out what was being said and kept thinking to myself, does anyone really converse like this?! Maybe if I could have understood the conversation more, I might have enjoyed this book a little but instead, I just felt incredibly dumb and I couldn’t wait for the book to finish. Not that the ending made any difference to my understanding of what on earth I had just read! Thanks Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to try something different but this is one author I don’t think I will be looking into for other titles this time.

  5. Thank you for this book reading opportunity.

    I was glad it is a short and thin book, as I found it very difficult to actually read and concentrate on this book. The characters were like robots and didn’t have any emotion or any anything, they seemed bland, lacked emotion, and plain. It could be the writing style is non-descriptive and direct, but I couldn’t get into this book.
    It was a challenge to read it and I still am bewildered after finishing it.
    I would recommend it to anyone who wants a challenge to read a book that is hard to connect with and see how you go with it.

    Again, this could just be me or the author’s style and it could be my expectations for something that was missing. Thanks again, I appreciate the chance to read this book.

  6. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to review ‘The Silence’ by Don Delillo.

    I have taken a while to review this book and not because it was thick and many pages, but to be honest I stopped and started like I haven’t ever before. It was confusing at best and a real challenge to stick with the narrative and words used. It honestly left me perplexed.

    I would be so intrigued to meet anyone who thoroughly enjoyed this book, as I have to say I’m as bewildered at the end as I was at the start.

  7. Thank you BeautyandLace for the opportunity to read and review The Silence by Don DeLillo.
    I was excited to read this as the blurb sounded really interesting but after reading this short novel I found myself scratching my head. I found this book quite difficult to review because I can’t actually pin point what it was all about. It’s one of few books I’ve read and I actually need to reread as I felt like I had completely missed the concept or the message it was to impart. Maybe that was it’s intention to make you think….?
    My husband usually enjoys books that have a deeper meaning so I’m keen for him to read this and see what he thinks.
    The book is easy to read and is only 115 pages long so you can read it all in one sitting.
    Although this one wasn’t for me, I’m always grateful to be able to read and review a variety of books, thanks BeautyandLace.

  8. Im sorry, I have gotten 3/4 through this book and although it is not a huge one to read, I cannot bear to pick it up again. This is only the second book in many years of reviewing that I have been unable to complete due to complete uninterest – usually I can force myself through it, but this time I can’t!!
    I was excited by the blurb and synopsis and was honestly looking forward to reading this, but although the subject matter is appealing, I find the writing dry and that most of the characters I have no feelings for, so am truly struggling to get into this book.
    I found that it reminded me of a play I had read in university and although can’t pinpoint the one, I tried to read The Silence then as a play and even to visualise the staging, but I just couldn’t.
    I apologise that this is such a negative post, and that I could not get through it, but I did try, and hopefully this is no reflection on the authors other works. I would like to continue to try to push through this, but I cannot promise…

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