Suzi Feay

Silent Witness



Faber & Faber 256pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

There is a gulf at the heart of this book. The narrator, while undeniably ‘there’ – she is continually observing and commenting – remains an enigma, with little back story. We discover quite late on that she is called Faye, and it’s jarring finally to have a name for this ambiguous entity.

The novel is mostly set in Athens, where Faye has come to teach a creative writing course. But first she must have lunch with a bookish billionaire in a London club. ‘A lot of people want to be writers: there was no reason to think you couldn’t buy your way into it.’ The subsequent plane trip is deftly described. Next to the narrator is ‘a swarthy boy with lolling knees whose fat thumbs sped around the screen of a gaming console’. Later, when she hands him a tray of food, he ‘silently lifted up his gaming console with both hands so that I could place it on the folded-down table in front of him’. Rudeness, egotism and inattention to others are very much on the narrator’s radar. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • 'The characters in many of these stories are trapped in the obsessive present tense of their own thoughts; in the m… ,
    • 'Libraries, for much of their existence, have embodied in microcosm many of the characteristics of the totalitarian… ,
    • 'Moss and Cynthia buy several properties through which to launder their ill-gotten gains, take lots of drugs, have… ,
    • 'Never mind the imperial cult. This is the cult of Boris. What happened to Rome?' From the LR archive:… ,
    • Thirty-two years ago this month, we published Muriel Spark's short story, 'A Playhouse Called Remarkable' Read it… ,
    • Time travel, bicycles and white horses populate @WomackPhilip's roundup of children's books by @marcussedgwick,… ,
    • RT : Joanna Kavenna’s ‘Cooking with Trotsky’s Frying Pan’ in June’s is the most well written and interesting… ,