Beyond SilenceBeyond Silence by Eleanor Cameron

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an atmospheric, melancholy story about a teen boy visiting Scotland with his father. His brother has recently died, the family is crumbling, and he’s started hearing voices – vivid conversations – and seeing scenes that he finds engrossing and peaceful. He’s at loose ends in Scotland, wandering the countryside and befriending the local bookseller and the couple who run the castle-turned-hotel where he and his father are staying.

The story seems to fit into that type that I read a lot of as a kid – slightly eerie occurances, mysterious events from the past overlapping with our own time, old letters and photos and voices from the past. But while I was curious to see where the story went, there were so many loose ends never tied up, and so many plot strands that added a bit of atmosphere or character but no real plot.

It was a bit like watching an odd foreign film, the kind of moody thing where you’re intrigued but never quite sold on the whole set-up, and where the end leaves you in serious need of resolution. At the same time, though, you’re admiring the cinematography and acting. Which is all to say that I’m conflicted – slightly admiring, slightly confused, and wishing I could find out what on earth Eleanor Cameron was trying to do with this book.

Source: my public library (and to be honest, I checked it out because it showed up on a “hasn’t gone out in a long time” weeding list, and I usually love Eleanor Cameron so I wanted to keep it going for a while.  But if it shows up again in 3 or 4 years, I might give it the ax.)

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