Silent Hearts: Book summary and reviews of Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio

Silent Hearts

by Gwen Florio

Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio X
Silent Hearts by Gwen Florio
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Published in USA  Jul 2018
    336 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

A stirring novel set in Afghanistan about two women - an American aid worker and her local interpreter - who form an unexpected friendship despite their utterly different life experiences and the ever-increasing violence that surrounds them in Kabul.

In 2001, Kabul is suddenly a place of possibility as people fling off years of repressive Taliban rule. This hopeful chaos brings together American aid worker Liv Stoellner and Farida Basra, an educated Pakistani woman still adjusting to her arranged marriage to Gul, the son of an Afghan strongman whose family spent years of exile in Pakistan before returning to Kabul.

Both Liv and her husband take positions at an NGO that helps Afghan women recover from the Taliban years. They see the move as a reboot - Martin for his moribund academic career, Liv for their marriage. But for Farida and Gul, the move to Kabul is fraught, severing all ties with Farida's family and her former world, and forcing Gul to confront a chapter in his life he'd desperately tried to erase.

The two women, brought together by Farida's work as an interpreter, form a nascent friendship based on their growing mutual love for Afghanistan, though Liv remains unaware that Farida is reporting information about the Americans' activities to Gul's family, who have ties to the black market.

As the bond between Farida and Liv deepens, war-scarred Kabul acts in different ways upon them, as well as their husbands. Silent Hearts is an absorbing, complex portrayal of two very different but equally resilient women caught in the conflict of a war that will test them in ways they never imagined.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Florio delivers an intriguing, well-spun tale that is both a striking portrait of two resilient, appealing women and a fascinating in-depth depiction of the cultural and religious aspects of life in Kabul after the collapse of the Taliban regime. " - Library Journal

"Florio (Dakota, 2014), who reported from Afghanistan as a journalist, handles her material with conviction and skill." - Booklist

"A well-intentioned but ultimately unsuccessful portrait of women in wartime Afghanistan." - Kirkus

"A rich, haunting, immersive story of cultures at the crossroads - deeply moving. A heart-smashingly good read, the kind of novel you'll want to share with your book club." - Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"By flipping the script, Florio not only shows us life in post-9/11 Afghanistan but also casts a dispassionate eye toward America, as seen by those who bear the brunt of its aggression." - Thrity Umrigar, author of The Space Between Us and The Secrets Between Us

"Silent Hearts is searing, brave, and complex, but most importantly, an absolute pleasure to read...I learned so much, and I felt even more. Silent Hearts is my favorite book of the year." - Richard Fifield, author of The Flood Girls

"Gorgeous. Illuminating. Resonant. Thrilling ... A masterful story that surprises and deserves every single accolade it's sure to get ... and then some." - Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of The Vanishing Year

"Silent Hearts is one of the best books I've ever read about America's long dirty war in Afghanistan ... [It] is a non-stop flight to Kabul, transporting readers to a land inhabited by 'a people bent beneath the weight of war.'" - David Abrams, author of Brave Deeds and Fobbit

"I found myself riveted by this story, the richness of the setting, and the geo-political themes written intimately on the lives of these two women." - Shilpi Somaya Gowda, #1 bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son

"Too often in stories of modern war, the everyday lives of those caught up in its ravages are pushed to the background. Not so in Silent Hearts, a ferocious, whip-smart tribute to those everyday lives. Readers will become immersed in the hopes and fears of Farida and Liv, and find themselves wishing we all possessed the courage of these women. If we did, the world would be a much finer place." - Matt Gallagher, author of Youngblood

"With deep reservoirs of empathy and intelligence, Gwen Florio's Silent Hearts asserts that humanity is something we share across cultures and that all hearts break the same. Her talent is on full display in these pages and she is masterful." - Elliot Ackerman, author of Dark at the Crossing

This information about Silent Hearts shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Gwen Florio Author Biography

Award-winning journalist Gwen Florio has covered stories ranging from the shooting at Columbine High School to the glitz of the Miss America pageant and the more practical Miss Navajo contest, whose participants slaughter and cook a sheep. She's reported from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, as well as Lost Springs, Wyoming (population three). She turned to fiction in 2013 with the publication of her first novel, Montana, which won the Pinckley Prize for Debut Crime Fiction and a High Plains Book Award. Four more novels followed in the Lola Wicks series, termed "gutsy" by the New York Times. She is also the author of Silent Hearts and Best Laid Plans (2021).

Florio lives in Missoula, Montana, with her partner, Scott Crichton, and an exuberant, manuscript-chewing bird dog named Nell. She is...

... Full Biography
Link to Gwen Florio's Website

Other books by Gwen Florio at BookBrowse
  • Best Laid Plans jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $39 for 12 months or $12 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten.

Find out more


Today's Top Picks

  • Book Jacket
    The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois
    by Honorée Fannone Jeffers
    Honorée Fannone Jeffers' The Love Songs of W.E.B. Du Bois explores the Black experience in ...
  • Book Jacket: Unlikely Animals
    Unlikely Animals
    by Annie Hartnett
    Though Everton, New Hampshire, the town in Annie Hartnett's Unlikely Animals, is fictional, it ...
  • Book Jacket: Shadows of Berlin
    Shadows of Berlin
    by David R. Gillham
    David R. Gillham's latest novel, Shadows of Berlin, opens in New York City in 1955. Rachel, a young ...
  • Book Jacket: Trust
    Trust
    by Hernan Diaz
    Hernan Diaz's Trust is a work of fiction that is itself comprised of four very different works ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Book Woman's Daughter
by Kim Michele Richardson
A mesmerizing and beautifully rendered tale of strong women, bravery, and resilience.

Readers Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Metropolis
    by B. A. Shapiro

    "An ingeniously plotted hybrid social/suspense novel. Shapiro hits it out of the park."
    Shelf Awareness

Who Said...

There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are either well written or badly written. That is all.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

T S's T Limit

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.