All is silence by Manuel Rivas
Original Title - Todo es silencio,
Translator – Jonathan Dunne
Source – Library
Well I put this book down as Spanish fiction although Manuel Rivas ,he is a Galician writer he is from that part of Spain and writes in Galician not Spanish and this book is a direct translation from his original .He grew up wanting to be a bricklayer like his father but was persuaded by his mother to become a Journalist poet and writer .He was also one of the first writers I reviewed on this blog with his book The carpenter’s pencil .That book was set in the civil war .This his latest to reach us in English is set in the Sixties onwards .
“The mouth is not for talking .It’s for keeping quiet .”
This was one of Mariscal’s sayings ,which his father repeated like a litany and Victor Rumbo -Brinco_ recalled when the other boy saw with amazement what was in the strange package he’d pulled out the basket and asked what he wasn’t suppose to
“what’s that then ? what are you going to do ? “
They have mouths , and speak not replied Brinco laconically
The opening lines let you know what silence can mean .
All is silence is a book about friends growing up and what happens when one takes one path and another takes another and there is a girl as well !,Finn and Brinco are like peas in a pod but there is one thing they have between them and that is they both have a liking for the wild tom boyish ,but beautiful Leda .The boys like all boys spend there days on the coast having adventures with each other ,this although in a world under Franco and the fact their part of Spain (the same as the writer Galicia ,I heard it described as a bit like Ireland to England but from what I’ve read actually the north-east of the UK is a better idea for me ) ,anyway one day they find a large stash of Whiskey and fags stuck by the old school ,Now this is all very Enid Blyton in a strange way a world that although tough maybe isn’t in the kids eyes to this point ,but then a man in a hat appears and tells the boys that Mouths are for Silence .We then see the boys grow Brinco and Leda marry ,Finn has gone a different route than his friends he has left the village and returns as a policeman .This is a post Franco world and the smuggling that the boys saw as kids has grown and it’s not just cigarettes and alcohol now no the stakes have grown .What happened to the man they meet as a boy ?
Finn had his eyes closed .When you close your eyes ,beware what you might open ,He took a deep breath ,let go slowly like a mouth of wind .
Finn returning to his childhood home what awaits him .
Well like his other book I’ve read Rivas is a poetic writer he paints his homeland through a poets eyes ,he is a poet as well as a novel writer .I felt he built the tension well in this book as it went on .This world is based round a love triangle ,power who has it .What it means to be friends all play a part .This has already been made into a film in Spain .It’s one of those books that seem to get darker as you move on the strange switch from the childhood years which under Franco are viewed as dark but it is the post Franco time when the kids are grown that is darker .I must try his last book before this book burn badly .Have you read Rivas ?