Content Tagged ‘the year of silence’

Introducing “The Year of Silence” by Kevin Brockmeier


I am a person who has spent a good deal of time in loud, crowded cities all over the world, and an almost equal amount of time in rural areas where the silence is sometimes so heavy that breathing it in feels almost like smoke. I have always had a complicated relationship with sound; I am easily distracted and prefer silence, but I can’t go more than a few months without needing to clear my head in the all-consuming noise of a big city. When it’s winter, or when I visit friends and family in quiet rural areas, my skin starts to itch after a day or two of quiet.

For this reason, the premise of Kevin Brockmeier’s knockout story “The Year of Silence”—in which a normal, unnamed city begins to fall intermittently, inexplicably silent, then becomes a city its surprisingly contented residents work together to keep silent—was intoxicating to me on a personal, nostalgic level as well as a literary one. It is precisely the kind of strange, conceptual, lyric story that I as a reader am always searching for in literary magazines.

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