Silence of the Grave

Publisher: 
Place: 
London
Year: 
2005

The novel Grafarþögn, translated to English by Bernard Scudder. Silence of the Grave received The Golden Dagger in 2005.

Also published by W.F. Howes in Rearsby 2006, Vintage Books in London 2006, Picador in New York 2006, Thomas Dunne Books in New York 2006.

From Silence of the Grave:

He knew at once it was a human bone, when he took it from the baby who was sitting on the floor chewing it.

The birthday party had just reached its climax with a deafening noise. The pizza delivery boy came and went and the children gorged themselves on pizza and swigged Coca-Cola, shouting each other down the whole time. Then they jumped up from the table together, as if a signal had been given, and started running around again, some armed with machine guns and pistols, the younger ones clutching cars or plastic dinosaurs. He couldn't figure out what the game involved. For him it was all one maddening din.

The mother of the birthday poy popped some corn in the microwave. Shtold the man she would try to calm the children down, switch on the television and play a video. If that failed she would throw them out. This was the third time they had celebrated her son's eighth birthday and her nerves were stretched to breaking point. The third birthday party in a row! First all the family went out for a meal at an extortionate hamburger joint that played earsplitting rock music. Then she gave a party for relatives and friends of the family, which was as grand an occasion as if he were being confirmed. Today, the boy had invited his classmates and friends from the neighbourhood.

She opened the microwave, took out the swollen bag of popcorn, put another in its place and thought to herself that she would keep it simple next year. One party and have done with it. As when she was a little girl.

It did not help matters that the young man sitting on the sofa was totally withdrawn. She had tried chatting to him, but she gtave up and felt stressful with him in her sitting room. Conversation was out of the question: the noise and commotion that the boys were making left her nonplussed. He had not offered to help. Just sat there staring into space, saying nothing. Desperately shy, she thought to herself.

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