‘There’s definitely a story worth reading here, but don’t be surprised if you’re frustrated by the way it’s told’ – Silence Once Begun by Jesse Ball


sob28janAfter Oda Sotatsu loses a bet, his forfeit is his signature. Scrolling his name at the bottom of a mysterious piece of paper, he is unaware that he has just confessed to the abduction and murder of several missing people from the small Japanese province of Narito. Once arrested, something forces Oda to remain silent. We are never sure exactly what, although honour, love, and fear are all hinted at. Despite having nothing to do with the disappearances, Oda will remain voiceless throughout his trial and execution.

When Jesse Ball, who appears as himself in the novel, hears about the story of Oda, it strikes a chord with a situation in his own past. One day the love of his life, and the mother of his child, fell silent. In the middle of their life together she simply stopped speaking and everything changed. With this theme of silence linking the…

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