An intimate and devastating portrait of Romania during and after World War II, this is a novel of quite extraordinary beauty that will capture your heart and imagination.
When she leaves the ward she feels the whiteness of the room still inside her, as if she is bleached out inside. It is the shock, she tells herself. She feels the whiteness like a dam holding back all the coloured flood of memory.
1948. A man is found on the steps of the hospital in Iasi, Romania. Wet with morning dew, he is as frail as a fallen bird and utters no words. It is days before anyone realises that he is deaf and mute. The ward sister, Adriana, whose son still has not returned from the war in Russia, sits at the man's bedside and whispers to him, keeping herself company. But it is a young nurse called Safta who thinks to bring paper and pencils with which he might draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page: a hillside, a stable, a racing car, a grand house as it was before everything changed for ever.
The man is Augustin, the son of a cook at the manor house in Dumbraveni where Safta was the privileged daughter. Born six months apart, they had a connection that bypassed words, but while Augustin's world stayed the same size Safta's expanded to embrace languages, society, the breathless possibility of Paris. And love, one dappled summer's day, in the form of a fleeting young man in a green Lagonda.
Pictures are always in the present. But a war has raged and ebbed since those days, leaving in its wake a new, Communist regime. Walls have ears, words and images are more dangerous than ever before, and even neighbours with old-world mirrors and samovars cannot be trusted. Georgina Harding's kaleidoscopic new novel is as intense and submerging as rain, as steeped in the horrors of our recent history as it is in the intimate passions of the human heart.
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.
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 A must-read ... Hauntingly beautiful, for fans of The English Patient -- Viv Groskop Red Harding's prose is a quiet storm of imagery and emotions ... The rubble and ruin of post-war Romania is tenderly rendered ... it's a heartrending predicament expertly realised. Painter of Silence is further testament to a talent gradually sculpting an impressive body of work. It proves as smooth and serene as a slow incoming tide; the story washing over the pages until the reader is immersed in its depths. This is fiction of the most graceful kind Independent
Number Of Pages: 320
Published: 1st April 2012
Dimensions (cm): 21.5 x 13.7
Weight (kg): 0.342