The Splendor of Silence

The Splendor of Silence

A Novel

Book - 2006
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Baker & Taylor
Arriving in the west India state of Rudrakot where he hopes to find his idealistic brother, who went missing after joining the local struggle for independence from the British, wounded World War II army captain Sam Hawthorne finds his search complicated by his love for the daughter of a political agent. By the author of A Feast of Roses. 35,000 first printing.

Simon and Schuster
Set in India during four searing pre-monsoon days in May 1942, The Splendor of Silence is internationally bestselling author Indu Sundaresan's most unforgettable accomplishment yet, merging her Indian and American backgrounds into a heartrending tale of love and clashing cultures in a time of war.

Sam Hawthorne, a twenty-five-year-old U.S. Army captain, arrives at the princely state of Rudrakot in search of his missing brother, Mike, carrying with him wounds from combat in Burma and several secrets. But Sam's mission is soon threatened by the unlikeliest of sources -- he falls hopelessly in love with Mila, daughter of the local political agent. Mila, unexpectedly attracted to Sam, nurtures a secret of her own and finds herself torn between loyalty to her family and Sam.

The Splendor of Silence opens twenty-one years later with Olivia, Sam's daughter, receiving a trunk of treasures from India, along with a letter from an unknown narrator that finally fills all the silences of her childhood -- telling her the story of her parents' passionate and enduring love for each other that throws them in the path of racial prejudice, nationalist intrigue, and the explosive circumstances of a country and a society on the brink of independence from British rule.

Sweeping and poignant, reminiscent of Paul Scott's Raj Quartet novels, The Splendor of Silence will draw a host of devoted new fans to this hugely gifted storyteller.

Publisher: New York : Atria Books, 2006
ISBN: 9780743283670
0743283678
Characteristics: 403 p. ; 24 cm

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nelll
Mar 14, 2013

what a wonderful book - i can't wait to read her other books. A really intriging book

k
kaliko
Dec 05, 2011

Compelling, impeccably rich, and addictive read... highly recommended!

The historical, cultural and environmental references completely transport the reader into another time and place. Sundaresan makes you wish you could visit the small princely state of Rudrakot, the main setting in the novel. The detail never lacks, and yet, always finds a way to become interesting and fresh. All of that exotic imagery is balanced by a creatively-paced novel that leaves chapters constantly hanging, with unexpected twists and betrayals.

I think the best part of this novel is that its plot description on the jacket sleeve (and on this website) totally falls short of how immensely complex and captivating the multiple storylines are. This isn't just about a love story -- in fact, the romance is not much more than a light-hearted complement to the political and racial challenges of the time. There are far more interesting story twists to be explored and characters to meet in this novel.

That being said, the romance in the novel is fairy-tale-like at best. Don't expect to truly fall in love with the leading couple, because I feel they are intentionally exagerrated. I think Sundaresan did this on purpose... once you get to know the novel, you will begin to see how it almost has a 'fairy tale' feel... "Once upon a time in a land far far away... under impossible circumstances, this American soldier steals the resident's daughter away from the fair Prince. Asides from the racial motives to explore their relationship, I think Sundaresan wrote them this way because she constantly emphasizes the "magic of India" in the novel... at one point a character says 'In India, all legends are real'. So perhaps the relationship is supposed to feel magical. Despite the reality of war and political hardships for these characters, a nearly impossible love could exist.

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