Silence

11 Feb

I am reading the most wonderful book by an Angolan author, José Eduardo Agualusa. It’s called ‘My Father’s Wives’ and is about the journey a woman named Laurentina takes to Luanda in pursuit of her father, Faustino Manso. As Laurentina arrives in Angola, her father’s funeral is taking place, so she decides to change direction and go in search of her late father’s women and his other children. It reads a bit like a journal.

An excerpt, (The Silence of chess players):

‘Silence.

No, silences.

I could write a short essay on silence. Or rather, a catalogue of silences illustrating them for deaf people*:
The silence that precedes ambushes;
The silence at the moment of taking a penalty;
The silence of a funeral march;
The silence of sunflowers;
The silence of God after massacres;
The silence of a whale suffering on a beach;
The silence of Sunday mornings in a little village in the interior of the Alentejo;
The silence of the ice-pick that killed Trotsky;
The silence of the bride before the I do;
Etc.

There are placid silences and others that are convulsed. Happy silences, and others that are dramatic. There are those that smell of incense, and those that stink of manure. There are those that savour intensely of ripe guavas; those that are kept in the inside coat pocket together with the photographer of a dead son; those which go naked through the streets; arrogant silences, and the ones that beg.

The silence of chess players is different from any other.

*Assuming that someone who lives in complete silence doesn’t know what silence consists of. Does a blind man know what darkness is?’

I am left contemplating the power of silence; how central it is in a world that is ever increasing in noise. I am thinking of the silence in Cairo’s Tahrir square, between the moment Mubarak’s departure was announced and the cries of jubilation that came soon after. Egypt on my mind today.

What is your favourite silence?

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4 Responses to “Silence”

  1. annabelvita February 14, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Hello little jam, good to see you xxx

    • z February 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

      hello, lovely. xxx

  2. echo of joy February 16, 2011 at 2:45 am #

    The silence before a baby cries for the first time.

    My favourite silence is the morning silence.

    I am going to read this book!

    • z February 18, 2011 at 11:35 pm #

      Morning silence is beautiful. you’ll love it!

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