The Rest is Silence | Granta

The Rest is Silence

Carla Guelfenbein

Translated by Katherine Silver

As the adults sit down to gossip over a long wedding lunch and the rest of the children rush off to play, a young boy slips out of sight beneath the table. Tommy is twelve years old but his weak heart prevents him from joining his cousins’ games, so he sets his MP3 player to record the voices chattering above him. But then the conversation turns to his mother’s death and he overhears something he was never meant to know: that she didn’t die of an illness, but took her own life. Confused and hurt, Tommy keeps what he has learned to himself and begins his own secret investigation into what really happened. At the same time, his father and stepmother have problems of their own to contend with. Juan is racked by private grief and guilt after the death of one of his patients, and Alma, his second wife, senses an increasing distance in their marriage and gradually finds herself drawn back towards an old flame. As all three withdraw into their own worlds, leaving more and more unsaid between them, their family story moves inexorably, affectingly towards its devastating conclusion.

  • Published: 05/05/2011
  • Trade Paperback
  • ISBN: 9781846272318
  • 155x20mm, 272 pages

As Carla Guelfenbein demonstrates in this intricately woven novel, the pursuit of individual fulfilment and happiness can lead ineluctably to tragedy. Subtle, clearsighted, and compassionate.

J M Coetzee

A beautiful novel


From foreboding beginnings, The Rest is Silence progresses to a tragic climax ... a bleakly emotional novel.

Tina Jackson, Metro

The Author

Carla Guelfenbein was born in Santiago, Chile, and lived in England for 11 years, where she took degrees at the University of Essex and Central St Martin’s. Returning to Chile, she worked as Fashion Director for the magazine Elle, until she decided to become a full-time novelist and screenwriter. After a very successful first novel, Alma’s Dreams, her second novel, The Woman Of My Life, was at the top of the best-seller for several weeks in Chile and translated in 12 languages. This is her third novel, but her first to be in English.

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The Translator

Katherine Silver is an award-winning translator of Spanish and Latin American literature and the co-director of the Banff International Literary Translation Centre in Canada. She has translated works by Horacio Castellanos Moya and César Aira for New Directions, and Daniel Sada for Graywolf Press.

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