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Whereof One Cannot Speak: A Novel

384 pages8 hours


Octavia Chavez, eighteen and fiercely passionate, has spent her life listening to the remote music of the stars, which only she seems to hear. She has a forbidden love of which she dares not speak, and a longing for wild, empty places. Her one true friend is a sanguine, seventy-seven-year-old wood-carver, Alejandro Jaramillo. Alejandro has been carving angels ever since he was summoned to do so at the age of ten. These two unlikely friends share one thing: a sense of having been called to something that lifts them towards an experience of the sacred. But when Octavia is involved in a life-threatening accident, and Alejandro begins to have dreams in which thousands of angels fall away from him into a bottomless abyss, they are both forced to question everything they have come to assume about themselves and their place in the world. So begins a voyage of discovery on which silence and dark music, new love and ancient landscapes will test their resolve to inhabit their own, inimitable lives. In prose that is both refreshingly muscular and hauntingly lyrical, Grenfell Fairhead invites us to examine what it means to grow up and truly belong, but also―even more crucially―what it could mean to grow down into one’s own center, learning the slow, fierce discipline of paying attention to each fleeting moment.

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