The Rest is Silence
In the backwoods of Nova Scotia, a man has decided to slowly simplify his life and withdraw his presence from the world. He builds a cabin, plants a garden. He befriends the few people he can reach within biking distance. He strikes up a relationship with a beautiful Huron-Wendat woman afflicted with wanderlust and who may be as damaged an individual as himself. In fits and starts, he begins to recount a story to his new friends, a tale of youthful passions, of idealism and rebellion, of love and of science.
There is a reason for the man's self-enforced exile, one that has implications far beyond the confines of the forest. As news reports trickle in of a brewing environmental catastrophe on a global scale, the unsettling nature of his confession becomes clear. And the world will never be the same again.
Bold in themes, sensual in language, and astonishing in its implications, The Rest is Silence is a stunning achievement in literary fiction. Intimate in setting yet grand in scope, Scott Fotheringham has penned a frighteningly realistic portrait of the consequences we may all yet face for believing we had the right to crack open Pandora's box.
Shortlisted: Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award
Shortlisted: Ottawa Book Award
"The Rest is Silence is a beautiful and Canadian tragedy that lingers in the mind long after the final page. I will remember this novel: where I was when I read it and how it made me feel so immediate; and I will read it again. ... The language is textured, almost poetry or music, like velvety moss on a rock. One could read it aloud and never stumble over a misplaced word. Sink into this book: it is a midnight skinny dip, a bonfire, a shooting star." — Scene
"A beautiful atmospheric novel of the sort that genre fiction needs to see more of. ... a natural continuation of Margaret Atwood's extrapolation of Canadian Gothic into speculative fiction. ... This is good stuff." — aescifi.ca
"A fascinating and complex plot which Fotheringham achieves with skill, keeping his readers engaged in both story lines while quietly building tension of impending disaster. ... Fotheringham holds the tension to the show-stopping end. If this was a movie, there would be a collective gasp as realization dawns. A quiet collective gasp. This is Nova Scotia after all. ... Fotheringham's debut novel has it all. Science that fascinates, a love story extraordinaire, heartbreak, family dysfunction, and that strongest of threads — the community of love that connects us all." — Chronicle Herald
"The Rest is Silence is a thoughtful and considerate story, engaging and intriguing at every level. Scott Fotheringham's first novel is a gem — equal parts poetic meditation and page-turner. ... the novel has nice momentum and doesn't dwell. Fotheringham has the rare skill of great timing: he gives each episode in the novel just enough time before moving on, introducing a new angle. So, despite its luxurious style, the novel doesn't dwell or sulk — every page offers something new to add to the human study. ... The novel certainly has something to say about human abuse of the natural world, but the thesis is tucked into a compelling and endless exploration of relationships and affection, ambition and loss. Fotheringham doesn't preach, and he doesn't deflect: he simply allows the novel to be honest about not having any answer other than a kind of fraught plea that we try to love what we have and remember what we've lost." — Maple Tree Literary Supplement
"The novel's precise, straightforward descriptive prose is very well suited to the narrator's experiences, conveying quiet contentment, beauty, and endurance. ... The Rest is Silence emphasizes overlap and connection between its themes, which makes its content more interesting and thought provoking. ... The Rest is Silence is a surprisingly moving read. ... beautiful, sad, refreshing and well worth reading." — Winnipeg Review
"A beautifully atmospheric novel of the sort that genre fiction needs to see more of ... What this is, really, is a natural continuation of Margaret Atwood's extrapolation of Canadian Gothic into speculative fiction ... This is good stuff." — Canadian Science Fiction Review
"After reading this book, one begins to question the authority of science and our social belief that science can fix everything and make the world better. This is an apocalyptic novel in the same way that human action is apocalyptic — we are destroying ourselves and our world because it is convenient and Scott Fotheringham does a fantastic job of reminding us that this desire for convenience is the main motivator for our environmental destruction." — speculatingcanada.wordpress.com
"The Rest is Silence is an interesting read, and it invites further study." — Canadian Literature
"The prose in this novel is incredibly rich. Fotheringham's descriptions of the Nova Scotia countryside are sheer poetry. ... Fotheringham has crafted an excellent novel that deserves much more attention." — Winnipeg Magazine
Pub date: April 13, 2012