Painter of Silence had me intrigued from the first moment I read the description. I just knew it was going to be a book that slowly made my heart ache and twist, but it would be done so beautifully, I’d have no choice but to keep reading, knowing there may not be that perfect, happy ending.
The descriptions in this book are gorgeous. Harding paints the world in such a way that I could picture everything, down to the smallest detail. Usually books that are written that wonderfully fail to have a good plot to go with it, but Painter of Silence is not one of those books. It doesn’t have a life altering plot twist, or a love triangle for the ages. But it does have a story to tell, and between all the lovely words and phrases, Harding tells it.
Augustin can’t hear the world around him, and can only understand the world from how he sees it, can only communicate using pictures to show what he wants to say. He needs to find his childhood friend, Safta, and tell her something important. This is how he ends up on the stairs of the hospital, near death. The story weaves beautifully between the past and the present, showing how vastly different the worlds of Augustin and Safta are, even while being in the same location at times.
There’s the world before the war, when Augustin and Safta were friends, she being the only one who could communicate with him, at times. And then there’s the time leading up to the war, when her heart is broken by a family friend, and then her family being fractured and split apart because of the war. And there’s the after, when Augustin shows up at the hospital and he and Safta reconnect. Time passing in this novel flows effortlessly and it’s just another piece of this fantastically painted novel.
Painter of Silence is not a light read. I had to focus in on every word in order to get the full story. But it is so worth it to read these words. Harding has written an amazing work of contemporary fiction and it needs to be read.