The Silent History

An innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend languageSometime right around now, doctors, nurses, and most of all parents begin to notice an epidemic spreading among children Children who are physically normal in every way except that they do not speak and do not respond to speech they don t learn to read, don t learnAn innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend languageSometime right around now, doctors, nurses, and most of all parents begin to notice an epidemic spreading among children Children who are physically normal in every way except that they do not speak and do not respond to speech they don t learn to read, don t learn to write Theories spread maybe it s related to a popular antidepressant Maybe these children, without the ability to use or comprehend language, have special skills of their own Unfolding in a series of brief testimonials from parents, teachers, friends, doctors, cult leaders, profiteers, impostors everyone touched by the silent phenomenon except, of course, the children themselves The Silent History is both a bold storytelling experiment and an unexpectedly propulsive reading experience Originally conceived and serially published as an award winning iPhone iPad app by Eli Horowitz, the former publisher of McSweeney s, along with the acclaimed novelists Matthew Derby and Kevin Moffett and the intrepid coder Russell Quinn, the book has been reedited and, at times, rewritten into a definitive, nuanced, and unputdownable text, a story that is timely, timeless, and terrifying.
The Silent History An innovative literary thriller about a generation of children born unable to create or comprehend languageSometime right around now doctors nurses and most of all parents begin to notice an epidem

  • Title: The Silent History
  • Author: Eli Horowitz Matthew Derby Kevin Moffett
  • ISBN: 9780374534479
  • Page: 390
  • Format: Paperback
  • 1 thought on “The Silent History”

    1. The Silent History is by one of the former heads of McSweeney's, co-written with some other brilliant folks, and when I heard about it back in 2012 it was a novel-by-way-of-app, or a traveling interactive book-experience, or some kind of very ambitious techy hybrid storyform that I only vaguely understood and did not have the device-proficiency to access. (Although, being a person who knows people, I did get to read a few-page advance teaser, which made me nearly weep because I knew I would neve [...]

    2. A selection of my post-apocalyptic book club. The Silent History was apparently initially published as an online, 'interactive' serial. Perhaps the transition to novel format did not serve it well; but I had a few issues with the book. The idea itself is interesting: children start being born who, while not mentally deficient in other respects, lack the capacity for language. The storytelling device is borrowed from World War Z: a documentarian is supposedly interviewing a number of different ch [...]

    3. I really should stop reading books that have anything to do with Linguistics. Or disability. Or, God help me, both.Really.This book had entertaining parts. It was written fairly well, and I read through it quickly, but it had some cardinal, essential problems inherent in its premise both philosophically and structurally that I had a lot of trouble dealing with.For one, speaking as a Linguist, while the idea of children born without the ability to comprehend or produce language is actually really [...]

    4. The Silent History uses technology in an innovative way to enrich the reading experience. It is not the traditional book or Ebook, but an app.After installation, you receive an introductory video and background information on the "project". Then, almost daily, installments arrive which are easily read in 10-15 minutes. While there are times I have wanted to read more and had to wait, it reminds me of the way serial literature came out in the 17th Century when it was too expensive to print an ent [...]

    5. Review also available on my blog.I was provided an ARC by the publisher via netgalley.It took me three weeks to get through the first half of this book. The story is told in such a slow manner that it hardly could keep my attention. To be fair, the story of the epidemic silence taking over humanity was actually designed for a different medium altogether. It has previously been released as an iPhone app and the "testimonials and field reports" were alternately "given out" over a certain course of [...]

    6. A fascinating novel about what happens when a wave of people are born without the capacity for language. Probably a dozen characters take turns narrating; the book was originally an app. The book has a weirdness factor, and a lot of that is in the personalities of several characters. Some characters also seemed to be stereotypes, but they evolved and were still interesting. Neither of those factors regarding several characters was enough to seriously detract from the book. I loved the concept of [...]

    7. this book is genius. i read it via the app, doled out in loving little portions and making me wait an ungodly amount of time between volumes. it was excruciating and genius and, yes, actually worked. I imagine in a book it works too, but the format I originally read it in is forever linked to this story for me, and I cannot wait for more. read the book - but next time do it the purer way.oh I guess I didn't say anything about the story itself. here:it is exactly what you would expect from its pe [...]

    8. I'm not entirely sure how I feel about this one. I read it as a book, not as it was originally published in app form (because screw you if you didn't have an iPhone two years ago), so I'm not sure how that impacts my reading (in long chunks) vs. the intended ten to fifteen minute blocks. There's just a huge variance in tone--there's little background details of advances in culture and society that are extremely well-thought out, nutrients loafs and music services and discounted car rentals for b [...]

    9. I read the book, not the app. What primarily got me interested was the prospect of the silent children. With the prevalence of autism and other developmental disabilities in today's society--and as the father of a child with ASD--I latched on to this compelling story. One of the narrators of the tale does point out quickly that the "epidemic" is not autism, but man, it might well be symbolic as such. You can also see the scenario as a symbol of our next generation who electronically text and ema [...]

    10. The premise seemed really good, I enjoyed about the first 200 pages, and after that I was reading more and more slowly, and finding other things to do instead of reading it, and I realized I no longer cared how it ended, so I didn't finish it.

    11. This book has much to say about language, consciousness, disability, neurodiversity, and mass hysteria, but it is also a page-turner that kept shifting in unexpected directions until the last pages.One of the authors, Matthew Derby, came to present our literary organization in Nanuet, NY, and spoke movingly about his sister Margaret, a multiply-disabled child who could not speak and who died in early adulthood. He also talked about the development of The Silent History as an iPhone app before it [...]

    12. Wow. A mind-blowing, thought provoking and frightening look at our attitudes towards otherness and language.I absolutely loved this book.At over 500 pages this is not a quick read, but it is the kind of book that unfurls and flowers the deeper you go into it. It was a very rewarding read, I really felt I was getting back what I put into it. At times it was incredibly bizarre (Wallaby the Wallaby springs to mind) but mostly it was just beautiful. I was even driven to highlight passages as I went, [...]

    13. Although this book is about the near future, it really starts right about now. The medical community is beginning to discover a small group of children who lack language skills. Totally. Not only are they unable to talk; they also appear not to be able to understand language at all. Although the rest of their brains appear to function normally, all the language sections are dead zones. They are totally silent.The novel (which originally came out in small bits that readers could access as an app) [...]

    14. I really enjoyed this. In one way, it reminded me of classic science fiction, the kind that started with a single premise: what if? In this case, what if a section of the population was suddenly born without the capacity to formulate or comprehend language? How would people react? How would we communicate? How would they function in society? Would they be feared? Revered? Marginalized? The answer is yes to all. On other levels, this was a genuinely modern novel, set over a 30-year span from 2011 [...]

    15. I started out enjoying this book more than I did so at the end. A virus sweeps the human population and robs them of the concept of speech--they can no longer understand words spoken to them (or read) nor produce speech, nor have thoughts based in language. A generation or two of children who are born with the virus never have the ability to acquire any form of language concepts. So the idea is interesting. However, I found that the super-short chapters from multiple narrators difficult to keep [...]

    16. The idea of this book was intriguing - people born without any ability to communicate whatsoever. I thought it would make a really interesting read. Not so. I was so disappointed in this book. All throughout, I kept waiting for something good to start happening. Some chapters had lots of bad swearing. I basically just found the book boring and kind of depressing. I kept hoping it would end once I realized that I wasn't going to find the interesting story I was looking for. I try to finish the bo [...]

    17. (DISCLOSURE: I was an advance contributor to this project, and I just *love* it.) Runs along the same lines, both in structure and tone, as Brooks's WORLD WAR Z. I got to see drafts of the first decade when I was working in my contribution, but reading them again via the app is an even better experience. Gives me hope for where digital books are going. Really looking forward to second decade (which starts publishing Monday).

    18. What happened?? This book started out as genius and then fell on its literary face. The collapse started a little before a kangaroo became a focal character and continued all the way to just before the last 3 pages, which were acceptable, not horrible. I give it three stars with the hope that one day, someone picks up the first third of this book and rewrites it to carry on the genius.

    19. I've stopped reading installments; the structure is interesting but the narrative & characters just aren't engaging enough, and the premise/s feel cliched/poorly thought out.

    20. NOTE: I read this as the paperback book, not as an app, which probably affected the experience. Reviewing this book is going to be quite a task. There was some that was good here, a lot that was bad or uncomfortable, and a ton that was neutral. Let me start by caveating that I know this book started as an app, so I understand there might be some nuance and experience lost in translation, which might contribute some to my issues. I'll start with some negatives. The first problem is that while the [...]

    21. Dentro de “La Historia Silenciosa” (editado en nuestro país de la mano de Seix Barral) conviven varios libros, libros convergentes más que divergentes, libros que circulan en paralelo unos respecto a los otros pero que eligen un momento muy diferente para brillar en solitario sin necesidad de pisar a los demás. Pueden buscarse los rastros de esta multi-cefalia narrativa en el hecho de que esta sea una novela escrita a tres voces, las de Eli Horowitz, Matthew Derby y Kevin Moffett; y, de h [...]

    22. Fascinating thought experiment about how language shapes us, how we think, how we relate to one another, how we understand ourselves and our world. As a student of languages, language acquisition and linguistics, the topic alone is enough to give me goosebumps of happiness. The book also has an unusual format, great writing and truly unique characters. Add to that some truly compelling ethical questions and you have a winning combination. Chapters are extremely short, each written from the point [...]

    23. To say this book was one of the most original, interesting ideas I've ever come across would do it a disservice. It is one of those stories that will stick with you long after you've finished it, haunting your every thought. I found this book accidentally in a wayward bookstore in Hong Kong, and I'm so glad I didn't leave it behind.

    24. Once again I'm in the minority with my scoring of my enjoyment of a book. THat's ok but even discovering that The Silent History began as an app, doled out in chapters didn't make it work any better for me, although I did read it in small portions accidentally because I couldn't get into it. How three intelligent guys can get together and work on what was a great idea and should have been an exciting and enthralling storyline managed to produce a book that is so hard to follow and nonsensical is [...]

    25. (9/10) The Silent History was eventually an app and is now a book. Buy whichever format is most convenient for you -- the (mostly unexploited) digital nature of the text is probably the least interesting thing about it. But do buy it (or beg, borrow and steal) because this is a dynamic, interesting, and sometimes beautiful science-fiction story.The basic premise is that twenty minutes into the future, children start being born with no cognitive capacity to learn or understand language. This has [...]

    26. Full review is posted on my blog: nutfreenerd/2015/03/16/boo This book was really good up until the ending. I loved the way it was written from numerous different perspectives and how the characters all came to be connected in ways I never would have predicted. The entire idea of the "silents" was fascinating, but I do wish that it gave more than a mere glimmer of society as a whole rather than focusing on the stories of a few individuals. I felt like the story provided the reader with a very na [...]

    27. This book has great style and a compelling story. It’s style or conceit it similar to one of my other favourite books, World War Z. Individuals reflect on the events of the ‘past’ starting in our present and moving to the not too distant future. The story of what has happened unfolds as each character begins to tell their individual story. People start to be born without any language ability. In the way that “World War Z” is about collective fear, pandemics, environmental collapse etc. [...]

    28. In format, this resembles World War Z-- a collection of various personal reports about a long event organized in chronological order. So kind of like watching a documentary made of personal interviews. The subject is a group of children born without the ability to use language, and the culture they develop, and their interactions with the rest of humanity. I have a niece who is pretty much like this, so the subject interested me, and at first I enjoyed the various viewpoints. But by halfway thro [...]

    29. I picked up this book thinking it was a non-fiction. The summary in the back cover sounded so scientific, I thought it was an actual memoir of a real-life phenomenon. I was a little disappointed when I learned it was fiction, though, because the phenomena of silent children seem very, very interesting to me.The book is basically a compilation of "memoirs" or "testimonies" from parents, teachers, siblings, relatives, and friends of "silents," a group of children born verbally disabled. The book d [...]

    30. Solid 4 stars.I really enjoyed this book and the way it was set out. A couple warnings, though, before you decide to run off and get it because it DOES sound really interesting :1. This is NOT meant to be a fast read. It's meant to be picked at, thought about, internalized.2. This is set up documentary-style. It's not a fiction with the standard chapter after chapter of dialogue. There's very little dialogue in it, actually. 3. There are a LOT of characters. Each chapter is a different character [...]

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