Kevin Brockmeier, “The Year of Silence”

9780618788774After silence overtakes a city, the people begin to miss noise.

(from Best American Short Stories 2008)

That the city’s whole immense carousel of sound should stop at one and the same moment was unusual, of course, but not exactly inexplicable. We had witnessed the same phenomenon on a lesser scale at various cocktail parties and interoffice minglers over the years, when the pauses in the conversations overlapped to produce an air pocket of total silence, making us all feel as if we’d been caught eavesdropping on one another.

This story is divided into twenty-five parts, which suited it well. I wanted to give it a chance even though it’s not my kind of story–I’m so literal that I couldn’t quite get over how the logistics of this silence worked. One other problem with stories like this: they all seem rather predictable. I mean, after the people embrace silence, what is there for them to do but crave noise again?

That being said, I liked it okay, and wanted to finish it once I was a few pages in. I think I’ve pretty much ruined it for you but you can read it here, anyhow.

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