The Silent Land

The Silent Land

by Graham Joyce


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When Jake and Zoe are buried under a flash avalanche while skiing in the French Pyrenees, they miraculously dig their way out from under the snow—only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. With their phones cut off, and the village evacuated of every living soul, the young married couple begin to witness strange, unsettling events neither one can ignore. And as the days wear on, they are forced to confront frightening possibilities as they attempt to survive and escape the silent land they now inhabit.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307739827
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Series: Vintage Series
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 965,428
Product dimensions: 5.28(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.82(d)

About the Author

GRAHAM JOYCE, a winner of the O. Henry Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the World Fantasy Award, lives in Leicester, England, with his family. His books include How to Make Friends with Demons, Smoking Poppy, Indigo (a New York Times Notable Book of 2000), The Tooth Fairy (a Publishers Weekly Best Book of 1998), and Requiem, among others.

Read an Excerpt


It was snowing again. Gentle six-pointed flakes from a picture book, settling on her jacket sleeve. The mountain air prickled with ice and the savor of pine resin. Zoe pulled the air into her lungs, feeling the cracking cold of it before letting go. And when the mountain peak seemed to nod and sigh back at her, she almost thought she could die in that place, and happily.

If there are few moments in life that come as clear and as pure as ice, when the mountain breathed back at her, Zoe knew she had trapped one such moment and it could never be taken away. Everywhere was snow and silence. Snow and silence; the complete arrest of life; a rehearsal for and a pre-echo of death.

But her breath was warm and it said no to any premature thought of death. She pointed her skis down the hill. The tips of her skis looked like weird talons of brilliant red and gold in the powder snow as she waited, ready to swoop. I am alive. I am an eagle. Nearly two miles below lay the dark outline of Saint-Bernard-en-Haut, their Pyrenean resort village; across to the west, the irregular humps and horns of the mountain range. The sun was up now; in a few minutes there would be more skiers to break the eerie morning spell. But right now they had the powder and the morning entirely to themselves.

There was a whisper behind her. It was the effortless track of Jake’s skis as he came over the ridge and caught up with her.

He cruised to an elegant stop beside her. In contrast to her fashionable ski suit of lilac and white he wore black, and the morning sun burst on his bulbous black sunglasses in an iridescent flare. He stood still, sharing the moment with her. She fancied she could see his breath rising from him like a faint oyster-colored mist. He took off his sunglasses and blinked back at her. Jake had close-cropped black hair and baby-blue peepers that she’d fallen in love with instantly, even if his large ears had taken her a little longer. A single, enormous snowflake floated onto his eyelashes.

Jake fractured the silence with a whoop of pure pleasure. “Whooo-hooooo!!!!” He held his ski poles aloft and offered his dancing behind to the mountain. The sound of his shriek echoed around the crags, a celebration and a violation of nature all at the same time.

“You shouldn’t do that. You don’t show your ass to the mountain,” Zoe said.

“And why not? I like my ass.”

“I don’t know why,” she said playfully. “You just don’t.”

“Couldn’t help myself. This is perfection.”

It was. It was flawless. Immaculate, shrink-wrapped perfection on sticks.

“You ready to go?” she asked.

“Yep. Let’s do it.”

Zoe was the more accomplished skier of the two. Jake could be faster, but in a reckless way—skiing right at the razor edge of his ability. She could always thrash him over a distance. To ski down to the village without a pause would take minutes. An hour and a half to get up on the combination of chair- and drag lifts, and fifteen minutes to get down. They’d gotten up early to beat the vacationing hordes for this first run of the morning. Because this—the tranquillity, the silence, the undisturbed powder, and the eerie feeling of proximity to an eagle’s flight—was what it was all about.

Jake hit the west side of the steep but broad slope and she took the east, carving matching parallel tracks through the fresh snow. Her skis whispered to the powder in thrilling intimacy as she plunged down the slope. Just the sound coming from her own skis was like having some creature or supernatural being racing behind her, trying to speak a story into her ear.

But at the edge of the slope, near the curtain of trees, she felt a small slab of snow slip from underneath her. It was like she’d been bucked, so she took the fall line to recover her balance. Before she’d dropped three hundred meters the whisper of her skis was displaced by a rumble.

Zoe saw at the periphery of her vision that Jake had come to a halt at the side of the trail and was looking back up the slope. Irritated by the false start they’d made, she etched a few turns before skidding to a halt and turning to look back at her husband. The rumble became louder. There was a pillar of what looked like gray smoke unfurling in silky banners at the head of the slope, like the heraldry of snow armies. It was beautiful. It made her smile.

Then her smile iced over. Jake was speeding straight toward her like a dart. His face was rubberized and he mouthed something as he flew at her.

“Get to the side! To the side!”

She knew now that it was an avalanche. Jake slowed, batting at her with his ski pole. “Get into the trees! Hang on to a tree!”

The rumbling had become a roaring in her ears, drowning Jake’s words. She pushed herself down the fall line, scrambling for traction, trying to accelerate away from the roaring cloud breaking behind her like a tsunami. Jagged black cracks appeared in the snow in front of her. She angled her skis toward the side of the slope, heading for the trees, but it was too late. She saw Jake’s black suit go bundling past her like clothes in a dryer as he was turned by the great mass of smoke and snow. Then she too was punched off her feet and carried through the air, twisting, spinning, turning in the whiteout. She remembered something about spreading her arms around her head. For a few moments it was like being agitated inside a barrel, turned head over heels a few times, until at last she was dumped heavily in a rib-cracking fall. Then there came a chattering noise, like the amplified jaws of a million termites chewing on wood. The noise itself filled her ears and muffled everything, and then there was silence, and the total whiteness faded to gray, and then to black.

Total silence, total darkness.

She tried to move but couldn’t. Then she felt herself choking, because her mouth and her nostrils were packed with snow. She hawked some snow out of her throat. She felt the snow trickling cold at the back of her nasal passage. She coughed again and was able to gasp a lungful of air.

She had expected to come around in the whiteness of snow, but everything was black. She could breathe, but could barely move. She flexed her fingers inside her leather ski gloves. There was micro-movement. She sensed her hands were locked in position about a foot in front of her face. Her fingers were splayed wide inside the gloves. She tried to wriggle her fingers but nothing would move beyond that micro-flexing inside the glove. She stuck out her tongue and felt cold air.

Zoe heaved her body with no result, and instantly descended into a panic in which she was hyperventilating and feeling the booming of her own heart. Then it occurred to her that she might have only a pocket of trapped air to depend on, and so she slowed her breathing down. She told herself to be calm.

You’re in a snow tomb, be calm.

She breathed gently. Her heart stopped banging.

A snow tomb? You think that’s good?

There was almost a split inside herself as the part of her that wanted to succumb to panic argued with the side that knew if she wanted to survive she should stay composed.

Are you calm now? Are you? Are you? Right, when you are calm, call for your husband. He will come.


She shouted his name, twice. Her voice sounded alien, distant, muffled, like something down a poor telephone line. She figured that her ears were plugged tight with snow.

She flexed her fingers again and still nothing gave way. She tried every joint, like a warm-up exercise in the gymnasium, starting with her toes, moving on to her ankles and her knees, hips, elbows, shoulders. There was no relief. The snow had packed her hard.

There was a tiny movement at her neck. That and the clear space in front of her mouth made her think that her instinct to fold her arms in front of her face had saved her thus far. She figured that she’d made an air pocket.

Call him again. He will come.


You’re going to die. In a snow tomb.

She didn’t even know which country she was going to die in. They were right on the mountain border between France and Spain and the local people spoke a language that belonged to neither. She remembered that the Pyrenees were named for a tomb by the ancient Greeks.

No, you’re not in a tomb. You’re going to get out. Call him again.

Instead of calling again she tried to move the fingers of her left hand, one by one. Her thumb and forefinger were paralyzed, as was her middle finger, but as she pressed with her ring finger she sensed a minute crumbling and a tiny movement in one fingertip. Something infinitesimal gave way, and she was able to retract her finger perhaps a centimeter. The movement was matched by a painful strontium flare at the back of her retinas. Then a rainbow of sparks. Then blackness again.

But the message of tiny movement flew from the nerves in her finger to quicken her heartbeat.

Calm. Calm.

She continued to work her ring finger and after a while she found she could move it against her middle finger in a scissor motion. She exercised this scissor movement between her wedding finger and her middle finger. That’s right; you’re cutting your way out. Snip snip snip. Good girl. Cutting yourself free.

She had no idea how long she would be able to breathe, how much air she had. She tried to be economical with her breathing, keeping it shallow, sipping at the air. Her head was banging with pain.

She continued to try to scissor away at the snow around her fingers until the muscles in her fingers cramped. She rested them, flexed them, and began again. Snip snip snip. Good girl.

And with no prospect of movement, something suddenly fell away and her other fingers became free, until she was able to flex all of them, back and forth. Then she felt her moving fingers brushing the side of her face.

Now she made tiny karate-chopping motions with the upper digits of her newly flexible fingers, trying to find her other hand, hoping it had also come to rest close to her face. She was able to extend into and retract from the small space she had made. At last the free hand made contact with the other one. She worked away until she was able to lay the palm of her free hand over the back of the other. Then she pushed back into the snow, full force. Her first guess had been about right. She’d cradled a small pocket of air in front of her. She still had no idea how long this air would last. A minute? Three minutes? Ten minutes?

Don’t think about that. Good girl.

She tried to wriggle her hand out of the glove, knowing her fingernails would make the best tools for scraping her way out. But the gloves were strapped tight at the wrist to prevent the entry of snow. In the immovable dark she tried to loosen the right wrist strap, but the gloved fingers weren’t sensitive enough to allow her to grab it.

Perhaps Jake would come. Unless he too was trapped. Perhaps someone else would come. Perhaps they had helicopters circling overhead even as she thought these things. But no one else had been on the slope. It was likely that if the avalanche had been quite small no one would even know that it had happened.

Tomb. Greeks. Pyre means fire. You know. You know. Pyrenees. Shut up shut up.


Her voice sounded a little louder in her own ears this time; but it also sounded helpless.

She tried again to grab at her wrist strap in the blackness. She heard the sound of Velcro parting, and the strap loosened. Grabbing the tip of her right glove with her left hand she managed to inch it off. There was nowhere for the glove to go: the thing was scratching her face, but she released it anyway and began to scrape with her fingernails at the snow just above her head.

Her breathing was coming shorter now. She was scratching at the packed snow but making no progress. The snow came free but didn’t move. It had nowhere to go. She scratched harder.

She coughed again. There was something trickling at the back of her throat, making her cough. Then she stopped scratching and focused on the trickling. The fluid, melted snow or saliva or whatever it was, was running from her nose into her throat. Instead of snot falling from her nose it was running backward. She had a sudden, panicked realization.

You are upside down.

She knew now with absolute certainty that she had been buried upside down and vertically. Her feet were nearest to the surface of the snow, not her head. This meant that by scratching on the snow she’d been digging down, deeper into the snow, not up and out. That was why the snow wasn’t flaking free. She’d been digging the wrong way.

She tried flexing her toe inside her boot. It moved a fraction, but the snow around her leg was packed too hard to let her move her leg. She inched her ungloved hand to her neck and found she could reach her hand through the snow to her chest. By scratching she could push her hand to her hip, and the snow fell in clumps toward her face. Then her hand hit a solid object.

It was her ski pole.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“A sensitive exploration of love’s redemptive power.” Stephen King, Entertainment Weekly

This tour de force invites comparison to the work of Haruki Murakami and Ian McEwan.…. So perfectly rendered…. Joyce's skill at conveying the creepiness of inexplicable events creates undeniable tension…. The novel is encased, like the village, in a veil of ice and mystery…. The novel's conclusion is both beautiful and devastating with its insight into the lives of two decent, honest people. Few times while reading fiction have I been so overcome by how remembering the past and living in the moment combine to form the core of our existence. In The Silent Land - a classic in the making - Joyce's great and abiding gift is to make the reader feel this truth fiercely and protectively.” — The Washington Post (Jeff VanderMeer)

“Stark, layered, ominous and yet appealing…Luckily for the reader, in the end Mr. Joyce delivers relief along with satisfaction and wonder.” —New York Times
“With TV's "Lost" having found its conclusion, and its successor on the pop culture landscape still missing in its own right, fans longing for a mysterious and mystical world to explore might consider visiting "The Silent Land," a tautly rendered new novel by British writer Graham Joyce… For all of "The Silent Land's" surreal chills and heavy-footed nods to spirituality, Jake and Zoe's relationship thoughtfully remains at the forefront with sharp banter and finely drawn moments of mutual reflection that carry an endearing grace…. As engaging as a twisted fireside yarn and paced almost as quickly, "The Silent Land" doesn't necessarily tell a new story, but it tells it with enough heartfelt panache to ensure its mystery — and its ultimately hopeful reflection of ours — never ceases to matter.” – Los Angeles Times

“World Fantasy Award-winner Graham Joyce may be the best guide available to the uncertain terrain of dreams, intoxication and madness…Joyce's crisp prose, transparent as ice crystals, is the perfect medium for [his] tale. Emotion-laden yet unsentimental, unflinchingly attuned to the fluencies of love, "The Silent Land" brings us to the brink of death and gives a glimpse of the unfathomable beauty lying beyond. – The Seattle Times

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The Silent Land 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 53 reviews.
BuriedUnderBooks More than 1 year ago
English husband and wife Jake and Zoe take a ski vacation to the French Alps and. as the story opens, they have been buried by an avalanche. They manage to dig themselves out and head straight back to their hotel where they are surprised to find everyone gone. Is it possible all the inhabitants of the town were evacuated, leaving them behind? Will someone come back to get them? As time goes on, odd things begin to happen—cell phones that don’t work the way one would expect, cars that will only go so far, food that doesn’t seem to spoil. Is it possible that something far more sinister is going on? The Silent Land is an hypnotic story with a distinctively creepy feel to it and narrator John Lee has the ideal voice for it. In the end, each reader/listener must decide whether the truth here is devastatingly sad or unutterably romantic. In the end, although I enjoyed the story, I felt it was a bit thin for its length and would work better as a short story.
Robert Streker More than 1 year ago
Ok story. Could have been wrapped up in 50 pages
Calebsmumma More than 1 year ago
This book was pretty good, thought it dragged on for longer than it had to. You could guess where this goes and I really thought the book would have been way better if they created a different reason for why they were stranded. But it was a quick easy read.
DFC12481 More than 1 year ago
The Silent Land is one of the few books I've read in its entirety in one sitting. Stirring up a number of emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, anxiety -- to name a few) Joyce does an amazing job at bringing you into the story. Character development is phenomenal. I wanted more. Should be on everyone's short list.
kimbrly86 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the mystery of this book. Be careful of reading reviews...will likely give too much away. If you like post apocalyptic books, this one might be for you. My only regret is that it's a quick read.
janners7 More than 1 year ago
This book sounded so good, and the first couple chapters were really good. The detail of the avalanche seemed realistic to me, and I found myself wondering what I would do with my freedom. However, the repetion of the testing, waking up, food descriptions and more got a little boring. I saw the ending coming a mile away, but it was a solid read, but one I won't pick up again.
Lynie More than 1 year ago
On a skiing vacation in the French Alps, a young married couple, Jake and Zoe, are buried under an avalanche. As they finally dig their way out of the snow they find themselves totally alone in a changed and silent world. Nothing is the same as before; even the concept of time seems to have been altered in this new world. Their concern mounts as their isolation increases and with it their fears of another avalanche. No matter how many times they try to leave the resort, they always wind up back in the same place, at the same hotel. Not similar but with the same overwhelming feeling of desolation as THE ROAD by Cormack McCarthy, this is a dark and frightening novel from cult favorite Graham Joyce. Although it dragged a bit in the middle, I thoroughly enjoyed reading THE SILENT LAND and look forward to reading other books by this award winning author. Lynn Kimmerle
elliepotten on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I had originally intended to read The Silent Land over the winter - it being set amidst the snowy peaks of a ski resort and all - but I'm glad I got to it in the end nevertheless! It's quite hard to explain what this book is about. It opens with a young married couple, Zoe and Jake, out skiing in the early morning. They are anticipating enjoying the peace and beautiful scenery before the rest of the resort empties onto the slopes for the day - but instead end up getting swept up in an avalanche...When she comes to, Zoe manages to fight her way out from under the snow and is reunited with Jake, and the two stumble back down to the village to get help and warn the other skiiers. But when they reach their hotel - the closest to the slopes - there is no one there, and it appears that everyone has left in quite a hurry. Figuring that perhaps the hotel has been evacuated, they walk into town, only to find it likewise deserted. At first the couple find this situation quite a romantic novelty, cooking dinner in the hotel kitchen and enjoying the spa and the empty slopes, but then strange things start to happen. Zoe begins to hallucinate, time seems to speed up and slow down at will, and when they try to leave the village, no matter what they do the roads always bring them back to where they started. Has the town really been evacuated? Or has everyone died in the avalanche? Have THEY died in the avalanche? And why does it feel like the village itself is trying to manipulate them in some way?It's a fascinating novel, which really keeps you puzzling and trying to figure out exactly what is going on. I started to work it all out as the chapters flew by, but even so I wasn't quite sure until all the pieces came together at the end. Occasionally it got a bit TOO puzzling, and I think I missed a step on a couple of occasions, but that might have been me rather than the book. I did find that as the situation got more sinister, things started to get a little bit repetitive and once or twice I found myself getting frustrated as a result. The sex scenes were horrendously clinical, I have to say, and I found some of the coarser moments of dialogue between the couple very jarring, and completely at odds with the thoughtful, almost poetic nature of the themes and setting. But when push came to shove, it WAS an interesting premise, with some beautifully surreal moments, some genuinely frightening scenes, and a moving message about the nature of life and the power of love which had me tearing up nicely. Cautiously recommended.
lukespapa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Descriptively, The Silent Land, is a tale of a married couple caught in a French Alps avalanche during a ski vacation. Within this, the author explores the metaphysical world of near-death, highlighting the power of human love and the value of a memory bank of shared experiences. The tedium of survival mode in a destituted space finally takes an emotional toll on the reader in the last third of the book but I suspect this is fully intentional. What is refreshing about this suspenseful novel is its depiction of death as a journey not necessarily taken alone. Given such a bleak plot it is this concept that paradoxically leaves the reader with a glimmer of hope.
caroren on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Award-winning novelist and cult favorite Graham Joyce transports readers to a mysterious world of isolation and fear with a hypnotically dark story about a young couple trapped by an avalanche in the remote French Pyrenees. . . a daring and powerful novel about love, loss, and rebirth.In the French Pyrenees, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, Jake and Zoe dig their way out from under the snow¿only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. An evacuation as sudden and thorough as this leaves Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone. They are trapped by the storm, completely isolated, with another catastrophic avalanche threatening to bury them alive . . . again. And as the couple begin to witness unsettling events neither one can ignore, they are forced to confront a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit.
kibosa on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it! I won't give anything away because this story should be read and enjoyed. About a quarter of the way through, I kept thinking I know what's happened...but I continued as the plot evolved. The story developed at the right pace...nothing forced or rushed.
amanderson on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A haunting, Lost-like novel about a young British couple who are on a ski vacation in France and are caught in an avalanche. They narrowly escape and make their way back to the hotel resort, but find themselves entirely, spookily alone there, with cell and landlines cut off, and a peculiar difficulty in finding their way out. The novel had rather lovely descriptions of skiing, snow, silence and their fears and thoughts, but overall it wasn't complex enough to be outstanding for me.I read a galley of this, it's due out 3/2011.
CBJames on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Graham Joyce's novel, The Silent Land, is an entertaining supernatural thriller that delivers the goods. Jake and Zoe Bennett are on a ski vacation in the French alps when both are caught in an early morning avalanche. Fortunately, Jake is able to dig Zoe free from the snow before it's too late. Having lost their skis, they wait as long as the can for a rescue team to help them back to the village and their hotel. In the end, the decide to walk back arriving several hours later, hungry and exhausted.To their surprise no one is at their hotel. No one is in the village at all. They decide that the entire town must have been evacuated due to the danger of more avalanches. While everyone is gone, they may as well have a bath and use the hotel restaurant to cook up their own dinner. After what turns out to be a romantic and passionate night together the two try to walk down the mountain into the next town.If you're like me, you've already got a very good idea what is going on, and you're right. But knowing this won't spoil The Silent Land at all. What readers like us suspect is revealed to be true early on; that's not the point of the novel. The point is what will Zoe and Jake do after they have figured out what the reader already knows. This discovery comes early enough in The Silent Land for the rest of the novel to build dramatic tension and to make the reader wonder what exactly will happen by the story's end. You may find you've moved much closer to the edge of your seat before you finish the book.I found The Silent Land to be a pleasant surprise. It's an entertaining, smart story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I hope to find more of Mr. Joyce's work on my library's shelves soon.
margaretrose88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Was this book the best thing I've ever read? No. Were the main characters annoying at times? Yes. But I still found the story suspenseful, and at times creepy, even when the reality of the couple's situation is revealed. I knew there had to be a twist, and there was, slightly, at the end. But I found the writing poetic, the lonely landscape striking. It reminded me of The Road, but with less cannibalism and a different sort of relationship in the spotlight. The Silent Land was a quick read, and satisfying.
Hantsuki on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I received this book, the first thing that struck me was how appealing the cover was. They say don't judge a book by its cover, but I really felt inclined to read the book after discovering how neat (for lack of a better word) the cover looked. Although the jacket cover was quite flimsy, much like the sort of annoying paper I use to bake cookies, I had to admit it was a nice touch seeing as the book is about the events after an avalanche. In other words, the characters' visions are obscured by the snow and that's the kind of effect the jacket cover creates when you keep it around your book; if you don't hold it down tight enough, it's even hard to read the bold black lettering on your book.Besides the physical appeal of the book, I would also have to say Joyce does well with establishing a suspenseful atmosphere. Throughout the whole book, from the very first line to the very last line, you feel inclined to read it to find out what the heck is going on. Although I admit the ending is somewhat predictable, as the reader, you are curious to know what is going on. Yes, this book is definitely a page turner.I started the book an hour before my first class, and I was already about 50 pages into the novel. I have to admit, it was hard to put that book down and concentrate in class. Although I also admit I was relieved when other students finally arrived because I was reading at 7AM, and the classroom was eerily quiet. And let me tell you something, when you're reading a book about a couple wandering around in an area where no other life forms seem to exist, you kind of feel like you're there with them, especially when there is no one around while you're reading.Anyway, if I had to some this all up, I felt like I was watching Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds again. Joyce is fantastic at building up that kind of suspense throughout the whole novel to keep you on edge until the final blow hits you.Moving on to the negative qualities about this book: I felt like too much information was given at times which may have made this book seem somewhat predictable. I felt like Joyce was telling you what was going on rather than showing you which is what a good author was supposed to do. I usually feel connected to at least one character in a book I'm reading, but I feel like they were somewhat distant. The other problem I had was the writing style. When I first started the book, I was ready to stop for a moment because I didn't feel like the sentences flowed like they should. I eventually got used to that obviously. I forgot about how the book read and just kept reading to find out what happened.To sum it all up, the fact that Joyce can create the perfect atmosphere for a thriller makes up for what I consider his superficial characters. I guess if you're curious enough to want to know what happens to the couple after they get caught up in the avalanche, this will seem like a page-turner to you as well. If nothing else, the handful of thoughtful quotes might get you thinking about the way you live your life, and that's always a good thing.
detailmuse on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Silent Land opens in early morning atop a high mountain run at a ski resort in the French Alps. The ¿air prickle[s] with ice and the savor of pine resin¿ and a lone, young married couple push off on skis. Almost immediately, a rumble becomes a roar and an avalanche overtakes them. Amazingly, they emerge to their resort -- now evacuated, and with other-worldly aspects that recall The Shining and a ¿Where are we and what is going on?¿ atmosphere reminiscent of Lost.It¿s a quick and absorbing read although not strictly fast-paced; its twists are parsed leisurely and revealed effectively to evoke much surprise and intrigue. The winter setting is almost a character; the actual characters are relatively undeveloped -- it¿s more a mystery of ideas that compel reflection afterward. This is my first exposure to Graham Joyce and I¿ll read more.(Review based on an advance reading copy provided by the publisher.)
Groovybaby on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A few years back I remember a news story about a couple who were on vacation, went to bed and woke up in the midst of thier hotel being crushed by an avalanche. On thinking about it a little more, it might have been a major mudslide and not shifting snow that crushed their hotel but either way, the side of a mountain fell on them and that in and of itself was pretty bad. What made the story stand out in my mind as truely horrific is that although they both survived the initial impact, they were trapped with very little room to move under half a mountain and thier hotel. They could speak to eachother but in the end only one of them lived long enough to ultimately be rescued. The horror of that news story stuck with me over the years and when I saw this novel based ona similar premise I thought, "We'll for sure it's going to be a serious horror novel." And that it was. I started it the day before yesterday and last night was so wrapped up in the story I could not put it down. At about 2:30am last night I looked up at the clock and thought about going to bed but my heart was pounding and truth be told, I was a little bit scared to get up off the couch. (Listening to the large amounts of snow that fell this winter, settle on and around the house didn't help much...) If I ever hoped to sleep again I had to finish this book and it had to end well. It did. The whole tale flows from start to finish much like Guillermo del Toro's films. Similar to the beat of The Orphange and Pan's Labyrinth this story travels to the darkest places in our psyche but leaves us feeling in the end like all pieces are interconnected and all works out the way it is supposed to in the end, even if that end is not ultimately a happy one.
ken1952 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Very compelling story that kept getting curiouser and curiouser. Most of the time I felt like I was in an episode of The Twilight Zone. Beautifully written. I will certainly search out more Graham Joyce novels.
delphica on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I honestly don't know what to make of this. I TORE through it, so it has the advantage of being both a page-turner and a quick read.Young couple is on a ski holiday in the Alps, there is an avalanche, they return to their hotel to find the entire resort completely deserted. Cue spooky music. OOOoooOOOoooOOOoooOOO.I strongly suspect that if you were hanging out and chatting with Grahman Joyce, and he turned to you and said "Hey, what do you think of this idea for a story? There's this couple, and they're on a ski vacation, and then there's an avalanche ..." and then he went on to sketch out the basic gist, your reaction would be "OMG, that's an amazing story! Definitely write that book!" It reminds me of when you see a trailer that really excites you, and then it turns out that movie is maybe not that exciting, but you still want to hold on to the thrill of your initial response. This book is like that.It's a solid story. Some parts of the execution work -- I will say that I was quite chilled by some of the creepy parts (OOOoooOOOoooOOO) The pace is very swift, in fact so swift, that I didn't notice some of the low points right away.The couple is a little flat. They're young and very good looking. They have a lot of witty banter. If you took them out of the post-avalanche deserted village, they wouldn't be very interesting or likeable. And this is more of a personal thing, but I didn't care for how a lot of their "witty banter" with each other skirted the line of being mean or disrespectful. I think some couples do relate that way, but I've never cared for it. Life is too short to say things like "shut up, that's stupid" to your partner, even in jest. Or at least, my life is.The resolution is ... well, I strongly suspected it, but I don't think I would criticize it for being predictable as much as I would say it operates as a genre piece -- you KNOW how it's going to end up, the interest is in seeing how they get there. And how they get there is ... okay. It's not awful, but it's not a stand-out, either
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so very much! I've raced home from work the past two nights just to get back to this story. Not often does one come across such a mesmorizing story, but I was lucky a friend told me to read this book. Now I'm recommending this book to everyone!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book as I had just finished Joyce's "Some Kind of Fairy Tale" which I loved. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and was disappointed when it ended. I've been recommending this book to all my friends at work too. Graham Joyce is an exceptional and brilliant writer. I can't wait to read all of his other books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago