Speak, Silence (Hardcover)
I recently spent time in Sarajevo, Bosnia and saw for myself the destruction left by the Bosnian War (1991-1995) While there, I learned about the history of this land and war, but never knew about the 60,000 women and girls who were raped, beaten, and killed. The women were literally used as “weapons of war.” Many of the survivors participated in the Hague International Trial, where the women told the story of their war, in a faraway court, in a foreign language and foreign legal system. They were strong and brave as they spoke of things they wanted to forget. They soon come to understand that to expose a crime, the victim must be violated again. This heart-wrenching account brought me to tears several times. It’s a horror story, but it’s TRUE! -Virgie
Check out the Audiobook— From Mercurial May Staff Picks
From the internationally bestselling and Giller-shortlisted author of The Disappeared, an astounding, poetic novel about war and loss, suffering and courage, and the strength of women through it all.
It’s been eleven years since Gota has seen Kosmos, yet she still finds herself fantasizing about their intimate year together in Paris. Now it’s 1999 and, working as a journalist, she hears about a film festival in Sarajevo, where she knows Kosmos will be with his theatre company. She takes the assignment to investigate the fallout of the Bosnian war—and to reconnect with the love of her life.
But when they are reunited, she finds a man, and a country, altered beyond recognition. Kosmos introduces Gota to Edina, the woman he has always loved. While Gota treads the precarious terrain of her evolving connection to Kosmos, she and Edina forge an unexpected bond. A lawyer and a force to be reckoned with, Edina exposes the sexual violence that she and thousands of others survived in the war. Before long, Gota finds her life entwined with the community of women and travels with them to The Hague to confront their abusers. The events she covers—and the stories she hears—will change her
Written in Kim Echlin’s masterfully luminescent prose, Speak, Silence weaves together the experiences of a resilient sisterhood and tells the story of the real-life trial that would come to shape history. In a heart-wrenching tale of suffering and loss and a beautiful illustration of power and love, Echlin explores what it means to speak out against the very people who would do anything to silence you.
About the Author
Award-winning author KIM ECHLIN lives in Toronto. She is the author of Elephant Winter and Dagmar's Daughter, and her third novel, The Disappeared, was shortlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, won the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Award for Fiction and was published in 20 countries. Her novel Under the Visible Life was critically acclaimed, endorsed by Khaled Hosseini and declared "nothing short of a masterpiece" by Quill & Quire. Her most recent novel is Speak, Silence.
“[P]owerful . . . an incredibly forceful book that insists readers sit up and pay attention; despite the gains made with the Foča trial, most of us continue to turn a blind eye to abuses taking place around the world. With her [Speak, Silence], Echlin demands more of us.”
—Quill and Quire, starred review
“Writing about living through a war draws on some of our most volatile emotions and fears—the balance between trauma and sensationalism is a precarious one. Writing about the rage and humiliation of women raped in war takes this already precarious balance several degrees further. Speak, Silence ushers us into a community of women who guide us with sensitivity, clarity and love through their resistance to being stereotyped as victims.”
—Ellen Elias-Bursac, translator of South Slavic languages and author of Translating Evidence and Interpreting Testimony at a War Crimes Tribunal
“Between 1991 and 1995, an estimated 60,000 women were raped in wars in the former Yugoslavia. But the women did not allow these rapes to become an historical footnote or ‘collateral damage.’ They witnessed their ordeal in The Hague's International Tribunal. Thanks to these women, the world understood—for the first time—rape as a weapon of war and found the accused guilty of a Crime Against Humanity. This carefully researched and well-crafted novel, based on these true events, is an impressive monument to the women.”
—Slavenka Drakulić, journalist and author of They Would Never Hurt a Fly