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The 2011 earthquake that shook Christchurch to its core led Lloyd Jones to investigate his own foundations and family past. And so begins a quest to revisit what has been buried by a legacy of silence.

Stone by stone the basilica was being dismantled in order to be put back together again. Each stone was painted with a number and laid with care onto pallets spread over the ground . . . I kept thinking about those numbered stones. Some purpose began to take shape. I began to wonder if I might re-trace and recover something of my own past, to reassemble it in the manner of the basilica. It was a matter of looking to see if any of the original building blocks remained, and where might I find them.
The 2011 earthquake that shook Christchurch to its core led Lloyd Jones to investigate his own foundations and family past. And so begins a quest to revisit what has been buried by a legacy of silence. Piecing together his own memories with clues of what has been deliberately forgotten by his parents, Jones embarks on a journey of discovery – uncovering hardships endured and sorrows kept hidden. Grandparents never spoken of or met emerge from dusty archives as he unearths lives torn apart by tragedy and unspoken mysteries.
Like the city that is exposed, Jones must come to terms with a history that is not one he may have imagined.
Also available as an eBook
 

Reviews

'Superbly written, A History of Silence is an extraordinary work from one of New Zealand's master storytellers.' —NZ Listener

PRH, PRH

'The book gathers an urgency and and poignancy that at times becomes as painful as pulling flesh across barbed wire, and we become aware the lineaments of grand tragedy can be found in the back streets of Lower Hutt, if the silence that holds together eggshell lives can be broken and the stories told for all of us to hear.' —Otago Daily Times

PRH, PRH

'In the parallels drawn between a broken city and family amnesia lies Jones' honest and thought-provoking memoir, A History of Silence.' —Sydney Morning Herald

PRH, PRH

' Told in Jones' evocative prose, [The History of Silence] is a moving portrait of a Wellington childhood, a family that moved across an ocean, an fo a secret wrapped in silence.' —Kia Ora

PRH, PRH

'Jones is a great literary artist and everywhere his fictive skills shine through.' —NZ Listener (Best Books of 2013)

PRH, PRH

'Jones tells a fascinating family story of abandonment and secrecy with characteristic style . A History of Silence is also disaster literature as the Christchurch earthquakes are employed as a deep metaphor for broken lives and erased memory.' —Dominion Post Weekend (Best Books of 2013)

PRH, PRH

'Its artfulness is hidden, its scaffolding invisible, its craft impressive. Its sentences are not bogged down in image and metaphor, yet both are over -archingly present, and highly effective.' —NZ Books

PRH, PRH

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9780143569473

    August 21, 2013

    Penguin

    288 pages

    RRP $38.00

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Also by Lloyd Jones

The Cage
Griffith Review 43: Pacific Highways
A History of Silence
Hand Me Down World
The Man in the Shed
Man in the Shed
Biografi
Mister Pip
Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance
The Book of Fame

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