Painter of Silence
By Georgina Harding
(Bloomsbury USA, Hardcover, 9781608197705, 320pp.)
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
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It is the early 1950s. A nameless man is found on the steps of the hospital in Iasi, Romania. He is deaf and mute, but a young nurse named Safta recognizes him from the past and brings him paper and pencils so that he might draw. Gradually, memories appear on the page: the man is Augustin, the cook's son at the manor house at Poiana, where Safta was the privileged daughter. Born six months apart, they had a connection that bypassed words, but while Augustin's world stayed the same size, Safta's expanded to embrace languages, society, and a fleeting love one long, hot summer. But then came war, and in its wake a brutal Stalinist regime, and nothing would remain the same.
Georgina Harding's kaleidoscopic new novel will appeal to readers of Anne Michaels, Michael Ondaatje, and Sandor Marai. It is as intense and submerging as rain, as steeped in the horrors of our recent history as it is in the intimate passions of the human heart.
Georgina Harding is the author of the novels The Spy Game and The Solitude of Thomas Cave. She lives in London and the Stour Valley, Essex.
"[An] accomplished work of fiction." --The New York Times
"The novel’s magic lies in Harding’s poignant but unsentimental portrayal of people who face such losses and yet find a kind of wholeness."--O, The Oprah Magazine
“Though Harding’s novel is firmly set in historical time, which is Safta’s reality, Tinu seems to exist on a different plane, and the multiple dimensions give the book a peculiar power.”--Booklist
“Harding has created a memorable portrait in words of an exile from language.”--Kirkus