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The Weight of Silence | [Heather Gudenkauf]

The Weight of Silence

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.
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Publisher's Summary

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered.

Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

©2009 Heather Gudenkauf; (P)2009 Recorded Books, LLC

What the Critics Say

  • Edgar Award Finalist, Best First Novel, 2010

"Every so often you get really lucky, and a book comes along that just knocks your socks off: an absorbing, engrossing, suspenseful read that you just want to keep paging through, a novel that feels a lot like running downhill - fast and a little breathless - until it all winds down and wraps up. The Weight of Silence is exactly this kind of book.... Jodi Picoult has some serious competition in Heather Gudenkauf. [She is] an author to watch.” (Bookreporter.com)

"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel. Heather Gudenkauf is one of those rare writers who can tell a tale with the skill of a poet while simultaneously cranking up the suspense until it's unbearable." (Tess Gerritsen)

"Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension. There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (708 )
5 star
 (224)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (567 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (569 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (15)
Performance
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  •  
    AJ Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, United States 05-25-14
    AJ Fair Oaks Ranch, TX, United States 05-25-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    18
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    "Compelling story, great performances"

    This book is beautifully performed and quickly catches the listeners attention. As the story develops the listener can easily see how concealing events in our own lives can lead to remarkable outcomes. I expect that anyone would relate to some or many parts of this tale which ultimately has an satisfying resolution

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 05-24-14
    Linda Tuscaloosa, AL, United States 05-24-14 Member Since 2012

    Nurse, mom, loved to read....but now I love to listen. When I retire I hope to hear waves crashing in 1 ear and audible in the other!

    HELPFUL VOTES
    89
    ratings
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    281
    280
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    30
    7
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Denial in it's worst form!"

    Dark, depressing and somber but this listen will give you chill bumps. I fear this story happens in real life more than we think. It's all about denial and it's consequences. A real life story with real life characters that will make you think about your own denials. In the end there is resolution and I was not left in a state of despair. The multiple narration was very good and added personality to the characters. I highly recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ROBIN SODDY DAISY, TN, United States 05-19-14
    ROBIN SODDY DAISY, TN, United States 05-19-14 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    45
    15
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    "Gudenkauf's BEST !"

    Excellent story, made even better by the readers. I appreciated the story (even if I related too well to parts), but the variety of narrators, made listening to the book even more enjoyable. I have read a couple other books by Heather Gudenkauf, but this was by far her best to date.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jim777 05-16-14
    Jim777 05-16-14
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    2
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Haunting, if predictable."
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    The book is gripping and you dont want to stop listening, because the next characters POV section might shed light on something new.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Any of Calli's scenes. They were wonderfully written and voiced.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    B 05-15-14
    B 05-15-14 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    25
    4
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    0
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    Story
    "6+ First-person Narratives Hard to Follow"

    The story is told as intertwined first-person narratives, often with the speaker talking "in their head" to another character. The prospect of spending many hours trying to put the story together didn't seem worth it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    stl1111 La Grande, OR, United States 05-12-14
    stl1111 La Grande, OR, United States 05-12-14 Member Since 2005

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Jodi Picoult has nothing to worry about!"

    One of the reasons I got this book was a previous reviewer compared this author to Jodi Picoult. SO not true. The idea behind the story line is ok and I found myself completing the book even though is was awful (long drive, no other book). I'm not sure if it was the poor readers or poor writing or both. Maudlin, banal, trite memories are how you are to get background information and they are so shmaltsy that I wanted to fast forward through most of them. There are multiple readers - Petra is good, and Ben isn't bad, but the rest are awful! I'm glad this was only a daily deal and that I didn't waste a credit on it. Don't bother with this one.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Canewdon, United Kingdom 04-28-11
    Richard Canewdon, United Kingdom 04-28-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    2
    1
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    0
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    "Not everyones cup of tea"

    I found this a very good listening, I don`t suppose everyone will love it, but it is a good story and read by different people for different charactors

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Arianna California 12-17-13
    Arianna California 12-17-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Slow, kind of dull"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No, I wouldn't. It wasn't very exciting. I kept waiting for something really good to happen, and nothing ever did.


    What could Heather Gudenkauf have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    More captivating plot. It was too slow and too predictable. I did not enjoy the constant moments to discuss the characters pasts when it did little for the plot at hand.


    What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

    Love the use of different actors. They all put on a great performance, good characterization, great emotion in the voices. The part with the children's narration was a bit strange though.


    Do you think The Weight of Silence needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    No


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen Holbrook coastal North Carolina 12-05-09
    Karen Holbrook coastal North Carolina 12-05-09 Member Since 2009

    Dixie Kangaroo

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    117
    10
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    Overall
    "Shallow"

    The characters are not well drawn. The mother is the wimp, the mute child's eitiology is unbelievable. I could not stand the narrators' voices. I skipped through portions of the book that seemed irrelevant to the weak plot.

    7 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    karen United States 06-26-14
    karen United States 06-26-14 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1072
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    "Better than I expected."

    I'm an audiobook purist. In terms of narration, my wants are simple. I simply want someone to read the book to me, straight out -- no requirement for acting out each character, although for those narrators with serious talent (Scott Brick comes to mind, as does Davina Porter among many others) narrators who have the ability to give individual voices to characters without being annoying are especially appreciated. I award bonus points if the narrator pronounces location names correctly and refrains from eating while narrating (as one especially irritating narrator does.) I don't need musical introductions or interludes, and in general I don't think having multiple narrators improves anything.

    So I bought this book - it must have been a Daily Deal -- without paying too much attention. Then when I started to listen, and heard that it was being read by a professional "repertoire company" I almost clicked off, right at that point. Having a book "acted out" doesn't appear at all. To me, audio books are -- as one OTR program famously says -- "the theater of the mind". I'll create my own scenes, in my mind, as we go along. I don't want actors playing the parts, dramatizing the story. If I want actual theater, I'll go to Netflix.

    But I persevered - and I was surprised. It wasn't bad at all -- each of the narrators did a very good job, didn't over-act, basically they just gave individual voices to the several characters. Overall, I don't know that this method improved the book any, but it didn't detract, either. It was fine.

    And the story was good -- suspenseful, believable and kept me listening. I liked it enough that I just bought a second book by Heather Gudenkauf -- which has to be the ultimate compliment. This was a good book -- give it a try!

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Velvett
    Ireland
    9/6/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent Gripping Story"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Would recommend this well written well voiced story.


    Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favourite?

    The actors gave depth to the seperate characters.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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