A very happy day to you, whatever day you are reading this post on :). I’ve been a little quiet on the blog for a few weeks as I’ve been so focused on preparing my house for sale, and I’m pleased to say that it’s been on the market for a day with offers already coming in, so that’s great news. Whilst the fun is only just beginning, it does now mean that I can relax a little in terms of my huge list of jobs that needed completing, so I can spend more time reading and what I love doing, sharing my thoughts with you!
Another exciting milestone this week is that over on my instagram @papyrusandpeppermint I have over now 1k followers, which is fantastic! If you have instagram or Facebook, please give my page a follow, it would be great to chat with you!
So, the first book I am going to share my review with you on (for I have been reading many books) is one that I was so excited about being released after truly falling in love with the authors first novel. I was fortunate enough to be sent a physical proof copy ahead of publication, and boy was I not disappointed.
SILENCE IS A SENSE, BY LAYLA ALAMMAR
I first discovered Layla AlAmmar’s writing when I was sent her debut novel, ‘The Pact We Made’ by Rarebirds book club as my first bookclub read (you can find my review of that book on here also).
At the time, that book really had an impact on me and I instantly fell in love with the writing, the themes that the author considered and explored, and the main character that she chose to work with.
This time the theme of the novel is slightly more hard hitting in terms of topic. ‘Silence is a Sense’ is written from the perspective of our main protagonist, for whom for the most part we know as ‘The Voiceless’; she is a Syrian refugee now living in the UK, so traumatised by her journey to the point of no longer being able to speak. The city itself is not named, but the hint is that it’s up north..which for me was a great tool for the author to use, meaning that there was no risk of assigning the less desirable characters to a certain part of the country but also in having us as readers open our minds and imagine where it might be, having no preconceived ideas about the location.
The Voiceless spends her time writing a column under this pseudonym, and the remainder of it gazing out of her window at her neighbours across the way. She calls them names such as ‘The Juicer’ (because he’s a health crazed guy who makes and drinks a lot of juices), which I found endearing because we all 100% definitely do that when we don’t know our neighbours names. I call mine opposite ‘nosy window washer’ (literally every day washing their windows whilst watching what everyone is doing!) and to the left of them, ‘dog snoggers’ because they literally both smother their dog to the point of repulsion (who sits in the upstairs window looking permanently pissed off).
The Voiceless seems to be able to cope with her new life fairly well whilst not speaking, as everyone also assumes that she is deaf, so she overhears a lot of conversations to understand the immediate world around her and their circumstances. One day, The Voiceless is the only witness to a brutal attack – the question is, will she speak up? Will she find her voice once more?
CAN’T PUT IT DOWN RATING: 4.5/5
Layla AlAmmar has done it again. Her debut ‘The Pact We Made’ stunned me, with its beautiful writing and hard hitting themes, challenging cultures and popular opinions.
This time around is no different, I am stunned and in awe of her skill, and dare I say it, her writing has evolved. The way Silence is a Sense is written is poetic and lyrical, descriptions make me feel like a fly on a wall – I’m in war torn Syria then to a border in France, in a local corner shop smelling all the wonderful food on offer, then to her apartment in the UK, seeing all through her eyes.
The hard hitting topics covered are done so with such respect and honesty and I couldn’t think of a more fitting main character than the voiceless. There are so many teachings about humanity and suffering, and as a citizen in the UK it holds up a mirror to the racial issues and prejudices sadly alive and well on our streets today. It challenges what the main character describes as ‘refugee porn’, where articles are written by those who have encountered these harrowing crossings, yet edited by people in places of privilege to suit a narrative that suits a privileged audience.
The characters that our main character engages with all begin as neighbours seen from her window, which I loved. Yes some of these characters were stereotypical but I think the author was having a bit of fun with an element of an otherwise heavy book. This read for me is a 4.5/5, the only reason for being so is that I am still left a little confused as to why the main character ended up travelling alone.
This is honestly the most beautiful yet raw book I’ve read all year. There are so many other things I could say about this book and I still don’t think I would do it justice.
Trigger warnings: rape, war, death, murder, racism, self-harm, violence, domestic violence
WASHED DOWN WITH:
Bird & Blend Yerba Mate was my sip of choice whilst reading this amazing read – boy was I not disappointed. I love Yerba Mate (a caffeine green tea alternative), but this one is extra special because it has a lemon flavour so it is fresh and uplifting, so it also tastes and smells wonderful, making it a great alternative to a standard brew or a cup of coffee.
You can try this from just 75p (plus P&P) at http://www.birdandblendtea.com
Well, thats me signing off for today. I’m going to pick up a new read and relax! I hope whatever you do, you enjoy it.
Will you be reading this book? Tell me in the comments, and remember to hit follow!
Until the Next Chapter,