The Rest is Silence by Carla Guelfenbein (Translated by Katherine Silver) - review by Andreas Campomar

Andreas Campomar

Unhappy Families

The Rest is Silence


Portobello Books 272pp £12.99 order from our bookshop

The Rest is Silence begins with a captivating premise. Tommy, a twelve-year-old trapped in the body of an eight-year-old due to a rare heart disease called hypoplastic left heart syndrome, hides beneath a table at a family wedding breakfast and records the adult conversations on his MP3 player. During his afternoon vigil, Tommy learns that his mother, Soledad (‘Solitude’ in Spanish), did not in fact die of an aneurysm but took her own life. From this moment, his cosseted life changes forever as he embarks on a quest to solve the mystery that surrounds her death.

While Tommy compiles his ‘Ten Discoveries About Mama’, his surgeon father, Juan, is preoccupied with a young patient who has a similar heart defect to his son’s. Meanwhile, Juan’s marriage to his second wife, Alma, comes under strain and the couple drift further apart. ‘Just like the white

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