The Devastation of Silence
by João Reis
Open Letter Books
Like Louis-Ferdinand Céline meets Larry David
The nights were terrible, during the day we were occupied, but at night we got to thinking, picturing food, our houses, food again, painful memories from our childhoods—that abominable era—would mix with images of food and our torture would grow and grow, I recalled my impotence before the plate I was ordered to clean, the impossibility of choice in a world into which I had been thrust unwillingly, war was indeed an extension of the torture of being born . . .
Set during the difficult era of the Great War, The Silence Devastation is the story of a captain in the Portuguese Expeditionary Corps who, with no documents showing his rank, finds himself in a German prison camp forced to share the circumstances of his poorer countrymen. He is hungry, constantly plagued by the sound of incessant detonations—and trying to finish his oral account of a strange story about a German scientist and voice recordings. In all this, he must seek meaning in his observations, his dreams, and, above all, silence.