February 2010 Good Housekeeping selection.
On My Bookshelf by Tamsin Greig...
My husband gave me this book recently and I tried not to take it as a hint. Part investigation, part autobiography, it explores the writer’s journey into the study and experience of silence, particularly coming from an often argumentative family. She looks at those extraordinary individuals who have historically sought out silence – solo circumnavigators, polar explorers, religious hermits – and traces their reasons for exploring the frontier we seem least able to encounter because of modern noise influences. The book is a wonderful challenge to make space for silence in our daily lives and to allow the still, small voice of calm to penetrate our deepest consciousness and be properly heard.
After a noisy upbringing as one of six children, and adulthood as a vocal feminist and mother, Sara Maitland began to crave silence. Over the past five years, she has spent periods of silence in the Sinai desert, the Australian bush, and the Isle of Skye. She interweaves these experiences with the history of silence through fairy-tale and myth, Western and Eastern religious traditions, the Enlightenment and psychoanalysis, up to the ambivalence towards silence in contemporary society. Maitland has built a hermitage on an isolated Scottish moor, and the book culminates powerfully with her experiences of silence in this new home.
'A Book of Silence grapples with ideas at the very heart of what it is to be human, and Sara Maitland is a joyous champion of the countercultural notion that silence is more than simply an absence of noise' - The Times
'Maitland's experience has been rich and thorough, and deeply enviable. Her book is probably unique in its subject, and timely, because good, healing silence is becoming hard to find, and we may not know we need it' - Guardian
'It is both an analytical, theoretical fascination and a personal one, her reading and her experience locked together, each testing and illuminating the other' - Economist
'Her dedication to the cause is both inspiring and shocking - There are many beautiful meditative passages in her meditation on silence - [A] wonderful salutary book' - Sunday Telegraph (Seven)'
Publication date: 03/08/2009
Publisher: Granta Books
|Publication date:||3rd August 2009|
|Genres:||Biography / Autobiography, eBook Favourites,|
Sara Maitland was born in 1950 and grew up in London and South West Scotland. She went to Oxford University to study English and in 1972 Faber published some early short stories in a series they then called Introduction. Her first novel, Daughter of Jerusalem, won the Somerset Maugham Award in 1978. She makes use of old stories from diverse traditions – fairy stories, myths and folk tales and, although she writes novels and non-fiction, short stories are her favourite genre. She currently lives in a house on a wild moor in northern Galloway with Zoe, a sort of border terrier.More About Sara Maitland