• After Silence •
An electrifying, unforgettable novel that unfolds with the logic of a Greek tragedy, Carroll's parable on moral cowardice starts out as a quirky romance in laid-back southern California but gradually descends into nightmare. Max Fischer, a Los Angeles cartoonist, is a bachelor when he moves in with eccentric, opinionated Lily Aaron, a restaurant manager, and her precocious 10-year-old son, Lincoln. Sensing that Lily is hiding something, Max hires a detective and does some snooping of his own. He discovers, to his horror, that Lily's ex-husband is nonexistent, a fabrication, and worse, that Lily--whom he deeply loves--is a kidnapper, having stolen Lincoln as an infant. When Lily eventually confesses to her crime, which she committed as a college dropout fleeing drugs and an abusive boyfriend, Max decides to marry her anyway and create a stable family. But seven years later, when Lincoln, now a sullen, crack-addicted adolescent, discovers Lily's crime and the reputed identity of his real parents--tragic events unwind with terrifying inevitability. Carroll ( Outside the Dog Museum ) writes with uncompromising honesty about how secrets gnaw and kill.
––Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
• Reviews •
"After Silence is terrifying, compelling reading--the only thing harder than putting it down is forgetting it after the last page has been turned."--Stephen King
"Carroll tells the story with all the marvellous skill that has made his books so enjoyable. Carroll's novels have always transcended generic boundaries--strange, wonderful blends of dark fantasy and magical realism."--Time Out
"Fantasy, detective story, tragic-comic tale of love and contemporary life in LA, After Silenceis all of these and more. Always an inventive and exciting writer, and one who defies neat classifications, Carroll has excelled himself here with a truly spellbounding story."--Sunday Times
"A neat exercise in domestic horror...Carroll's ability to milk the situation for menace and pathos exceeds even Swift's and McEwan's."--Independent on Sunday
"Carroll delivers seamless storytelling, comic anecdotes and funny, likeable characters, and weaves them all into a wrenching tale of tragic inevitability."--The Times
"Carroll joins the mainstream with a romantic suspense novel quite unlike his usual slippery surrealism (Outside the Dog Museum, 1991; A Child Across the Sky, 1990, etc.) and delivers what is pretty much a winner. Carroll's US cult following is limited, but his work is heralded and esteemed in Europe for its avant-garde qualities (he lives in Vienna). What carries the day for him here are characters that really grip you, and straightahead storytelling that should bring him a new batch of stateside readers. His hero is Max Fischer (perhaps a play on Hollywood animator Max Fleischer), a famed L.A. cartoonist whose main character is Paper Clip, a talking paper clip that makes eccentric comments about the realistic parts of his panels. Unmarried at 37, Max falls for Lily Aaron, a widow with a bright nine-year-old son, Lincoln. Lily loves waitressing in an oddball L.A. restaurant, and her dead-on honesty attracts Max, who finally marries her. But he finds that her honesty has its hidden neurotic side, which prompts him to hire a friendly female detective to look into Lily's background. The results lead to very upsetting facts: Lily not only was never married, and has invented her dead ex-husband, but she also kidnapped Lincoln as a small baby and has raised him as her own. Why? Because an early miscarriage left her unable to bear children, although not infertile. Max flies to New Jersey and meets (he thinks) Lincoln's lost parents, but decides to go along with Lily and keep Lincoln as his stepson. Years pass and wonderful, brilliant Lincoln grows into a jackbooted psychotic who hates Max and Lily and is ready to kill.... Strong throughout, though the story's hairpinning into suspense feels forced. Still, honest Lily's best pages run deep-- and this is Carroll's most readable ever.