A generation of children born without speech, without language, without communication.
They can’t tell you their story – but the parents, doctors, inventors, cult leaders and vigilantes touched by the phenomenon can.
And they’ll tell you that the silents are medical curiosities.
Or that they’re a threat.
Or that they’re our salvation.
But what they can’t tell you is what the silents are thinking.
Or what they want.
Or what they’re going to do next.”
The Silent History is a book I picked up on a little trip to Waterstones on my lunch break. Prior to entering the store I gave myself the “I’m just going to look” talk.
It was clearly unsuccessful.
The novel was written by three authors; Eli Horowitz, Mathew Derby and Kevin Moffet. But what’s really special about this story is that it originally started off as an app! Completely and utterly revolutionary in literary terms. This to me is what reading is supposed to be all about. Just because we’re presenting a piece of work in the form of words and sentences, why should the method of presentation be limited to the pages of a book? This took the e-book to a whole other level and I for one am so impressed.
But having said that, for me personally, the excitement and originality didn’t translate as well in the actual paperback novel. Let me explain.
The plot of the story is that a whole bunch of kids start being born unable to process language. They cannot communicate their needs and wants to those who can speak and vice versa. It quickly becomes something of an epidemic and the story follows the lives of many different characters; a doctor looking for a cure, a father trying to find ways to communicate with his daughter, a teacher trying her best to administer an education. It’s an interesting concept. However, it always felt like the plot never reached a climax. Situations occurred that would make you think “oh, this is where it all kicks off” and it never did. I read the whole book waiting for the moment the whole system would collapse *spoiler alert* and when the system did collapse it was such an anti-climax. It wasn’t as catastrophic as I would have liked *spoiler alert over*.
The formatting of the story works for the app; the chapters are really short so it’s quite nice to read when on the go but as a paperback it switches up too often for my taste. Maybe I’m just being picky now.
I feel like there are so many places where they could have gone with the story and they didn’t. My imagination was on fire… but only from thinking of all the ways I could have taken the story in terms of plot. It was slyly very frustrating to read as a novel. But immediately engaging to read as part of an interactive app. As a book it dragged, as an app I read little bits here and there and it was exciting. The app is seriously amazing. In the app, the format in which the story is laid out in, is also bearable too, I just don’t feel it works in a book. If you live in London, enable your location services and when you’re in a certain area it will let you access field reports specific to that area too. It’s so cool. You do have to pay for the app, however it’s much cheaper than the book and an all-round better experience.
Now I used to be super traditional in my views of reading in that I want a book in front of me, something I can touch and flick the pages of but for once I’m actually going to say fuck the book, get the app.
Have you read any books you would regard as revolutionary? I’d like to know about them! You can comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet me @_HUMAIRAASLAM