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The Lost Art of Silence – review

A thrilling review from Publisher’s Weekly in the US.

‘This elegant and ethereal meditation from Anderson (Heaven’s Face, Thinly Veiled), founder of the Travel Bookshop in London, explores silence as more than “just the absence of sound.” Drawing on movies, books, history, religious texts, and her own travels (to silent retreats and bustling cities), Anderson portrays silence as a state of being that can bring peace or stem from anger; that prompts culturally determined reactions (“the British tend to try to fill awkward silences, often with inane chatter”); and that holds an increasing value in a “noise-driven” world. “Once you have discovered your silence within,” Anderson writes, “it is always there—hard as that might be to remember in a rowdy place.” Readers will be fascinated by the author’s wide-ranging musings and drawn in by her lyrical language (of silences that surround taboos: “by wrapping the forbidden matter in silence, it becomes like a parcel that can never be opened, a terrible secret”). This is spellbinding. (Dec.)’