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Mara is a simultaneous interpreter who moves to a provincial town in Argentina in order to speak as little as possible for a year. Steeled with the ten rules of silence set out in her manual of rhetoric, she takes a job as a guard in the local museum. The advantages of her work are threatened when she's asked to assist in the re-embalming of the museum's pride and joy: two Mara is a simultaneous interpreter who moves to a provincial town in Argentina in order to speak as little as possible for a year. Steeled with the ten rules of silence set out in her manual of rhetoric, she takes a job as a guard in the local museum. The advantages of her work are threatened when she's asked to assist in the re-embalming of the museum's pride and joy: two horses--of great national and historical significance--are disintegrating and must be saved. But her goal and her slippery grasp on sanity lead her to more anarchistic means to bolster her purpose. Bold, subversive, and threaded through with acerbic wit, Include Me Out is an homage to silence and the impossibility of achieving it.


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Mara is a simultaneous interpreter who moves to a provincial town in Argentina in order to speak as little as possible for a year. Steeled with the ten rules of silence set out in her manual of rhetoric, she takes a job as a guard in the local museum. The advantages of her work are threatened when she's asked to assist in the re-embalming of the museum's pride and joy: two Mara is a simultaneous interpreter who moves to a provincial town in Argentina in order to speak as little as possible for a year. Steeled with the ten rules of silence set out in her manual of rhetoric, she takes a job as a guard in the local museum. The advantages of her work are threatened when she's asked to assist in the re-embalming of the museum's pride and joy: two horses--of great national and historical significance--are disintegrating and must be saved. But her goal and her slippery grasp on sanity lead her to more anarchistic means to bolster her purpose. Bold, subversive, and threaded through with acerbic wit, Include Me Out is an homage to silence and the impossibility of achieving it.

30 review for Include Me Out

  1. 5 out of 5

    jo

    there is something about recent latin american literature. maybe an effortlessness. maybe a lightness. even when the topics are not light, the tone is light. and i say this having read the far-from-light and in fact quite brutal Hurricane Season. there is a playfulness, a delightful lack of ponderousness. it's literature that doesn't take itself too seriously. this is the gift of postmodernism, at least when not in the hands of white guys. i loved this novel, which i read in english in the fabul there is something about recent latin american literature. maybe an effortlessness. maybe a lightness. even when the topics are not light, the tone is light. and i say this having read the far-from-light and in fact quite brutal Hurricane Season. there is a playfulness, a delightful lack of ponderousness. it's literature that doesn't take itself too seriously. this is the gift of postmodernism, at least when not in the hands of white guys. i loved this novel, which i read in english in the fabulous translation by katherine silver. it starts off with an experiment. the protagonist, mara, decides to spend a year talking as little as possible. in order to succeed, she moves to a small town where she doesn't know anyone, and chooses to be a museum guard. at first things move along quite as planned, then they, hmm, don't. hilarity ensues. behind this funny, breezy novel there is a powerful critique of consumerism, of colonial appropriation and of the arrogance of men. it is also a super smart investigation of language, what it does, what it doesn't, when we need it, when we don't. it's all intriguing and clever and fun and it's amazing that all this takes barely more than 100 pages. i recommend it highly.

  2. 4 out of 5

    〰️Beth〰️

    A strange little book. Not strange in a bad way. The whole idea of an MC who takes a year out of her life to go to a small town and a job where she thinks her silence will not matter. Why? And her strange obsession with her book of rhetoric. Then her spiral into spying. This book can not really be put into a genre. Inserted are bits of Argentinian history and other tid bits of knowledge. But still why is a woman silent, does she choose it does it choose her?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Helena

    Como suele pasar en cierto "ambiente" de la literatura argentina esta de moda no contar nada y luego explicar (en entrevistas, intervenciones varias, lecturas, charlas) que se contó todo. De esa manera aparece un mecanismo interesante en donde se subestima al lector que supuestamente "no entiende" o "no le da" para entender el subtexto de la trama. No sé porque pasa esto pero es algo que pasa y como micro fenómeno es interesante porque da cuenta que la literatura argentina nunca entendió que lee Como suele pasar en cierto "ambiente" de la literatura argentina esta de moda no contar nada y luego explicar (en entrevistas, intervenciones varias, lecturas, charlas) que se contó todo. De esa manera aparece un mecanismo interesante en donde se subestima al lector que supuestamente "no entiende" o "no le da" para entender el subtexto de la trama. No sé porque pasa esto pero es algo que pasa y como micro fenómeno es interesante porque da cuenta que la literatura argentina nunca entendió que leer debe ser un placer y no una tortura. Pero la balanza siempre se inclino por sobre la tortura, como cuando te agarra un chico neurótico de Puan y te habla de lo difícil que es escribir y lo complicado que es enfrentarse a eso y entras en una diatriba que sabes estúpida pero toleras por respeto al otro. Es realmente desconcertante como no se escribe para entretener, como si fuera un pecado, y se escribe para arrastrarse entre las palabras. Saer ufffff, y luego demonizar a cualquier vertiente de la literatura que vaya por ese lado, Cortazar en sus cuentos, como si la vocación final fuera solo vale en tanto y en cuanto sea realmente difícil. Ese tipo de egoísmos son los que siguen constituyendo a Buenos Aires como un local de provincia y no como una sociedad cosmpolita. En lo cosmpolita si hay talento se revolea y si hay conocimiento se brinda, porque todo eso se sostiene con plena y absoluta seguridad. No es el caso de nuestros escritores e intelectuales. ¿Y para que digo todo esto? Porque nuevamente me topo con una novela que parece, según las reseñas, dice un montón de cosas, pero en el papel no dice nada. Una piba se cansa de todo y se manda a mudar a un pueblo y no quiere hablar. Quién es, por qué lo hace, cómo lo sostiene, cuándo decidió hacerlo....no lo sabemos. Y esa es la construcción que interesa, no las insufribles observaciones sobre dos caballos disecados o los párrafos naturalistas ponchados que el lector puede bien saltearse. ¿Por qué es tan difícil darle razones, sentimientos y profundidad a los personajes en la literatura argentina? ¿Por qué parece tan imposible dotarlos de vida? Bueno quizás porque la literatura argentina detesta la vida.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abbie | ab_reads

    2.5 stars (#gifted @transitbooks) I had high hopes for this little novella, which promised to be ‘an exploration of the range and expression of female silence’. Our protagonist Mara moves to a small provincial town in Argentina and challenges herself to speak as little as possible for a full year. . I wanted a thoughtful, introspective musing on why Mara decided to stop talking, expecting a sort of pared-down Vox (a very heavy handed novel). Instead I got taxidermy and horses. Lots of it. There was 2.5 stars (#gifted @transitbooks) I had high hopes for this little novella, which promised to be ‘an exploration of the range and expression of female silence’. Our protagonist Mara moves to a small provincial town in Argentina and challenges herself to speak as little as possible for a full year. . I wanted a thoughtful, introspective musing on why Mara decided to stop talking, expecting a sort of pared-down Vox (a very heavy handed novel). Instead I got taxidermy and horses. Lots of it. There was also a tiny bit of insight into Mara’s previous life as an interpreter, which I liked! And which explained some of her decision to stop talking. Cristoff includes tonnes of extracts from (legitimate) historical documents which are on display at the museum where Mara now works as a guard. Some of it was fascinating in itself, but the threads never really came together into a cohesive narrative. For example, I discovered a bizarre medical art experiment called Que Le Cheval Vive en Moi, where a French artist injected herself with horse immunoglobulins before undergoing a blood transfusion with horse blood, successfully due to the build up of her immune system. She said she felt like a super-human, hyper-aware and hyper-sensitive. All well and good, but what exactly does it have to do with the story? I have to say it left me scratching my head a little. . I imagine that for some readers this will be a brilliant read. For me, it was only okay. The translation by Katherine Silver was tightly controlled. Cristoff occasionally employs long, run-on sentences filled with verb after verb which could have seemed clumsy but Silver handles them well. These were among the flashes of good that I found among the opacity. Unfortunately not enough to pull this one above a 3 for me.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jenny (Reading Envy)

    I read this book from Hoopla because it was included on the Tournament of Books longlist. The blurb says it's about silence. To me, it's a bizarre combination of elements from previous/congruent Argentinian authors in the tournament - art museums, long confusing journeys (including a three-hour walk home every night? is that accurate?), and horses! Dead ones. Not only that but from the art perspective there are frequent insertions of long quotations from other sources. Once I understood why the MC I read this book from Hoopla because it was included on the Tournament of Books longlist. The blurb says it's about silence. To me, it's a bizarre combination of elements from previous/congruent Argentinian authors in the tournament - art museums, long confusing journeys (including a three-hour walk home every night? is that accurate?), and horses! Dead ones. Not only that but from the art perspective there are frequent insertions of long quotations from other sources. Once I understood why the MC was there, I was more interested in her, but for a long time, really not so much. And it's like the interesting parts are all in the past.... I think I should have bailed but it's pretty quick, and the indie press that published Saudade, which I grew into liking. So who knows!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marie-Therese

    How likely is it that I would read two books about disaffected female museum guards in one year? And yet that's what's happened as I read this book and Indelicacy in April. Cristoff's book is a bit better than Cain's but both are terribly wan and laboured and lacking in some kind of deeper meaning or purpose. They are also honestly pretty damn boring. I hereby declare that author's should call a moratorium on books about museum guards. At least, until they can find a decent plot to justify follo How likely is it that I would read two books about disaffected female museum guards in one year? And yet that's what's happened as I read this book and Indelicacy in April. Cristoff's book is a bit better than Cain's but both are terribly wan and laboured and lacking in some kind of deeper meaning or purpose. They are also honestly pretty damn boring. I hereby declare that author's should call a moratorium on books about museum guards. At least, until they can find a decent plot to justify following those uniformed butts in official seats.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jule

    Burnt out from her hectic and high stakes job as a conference interpreter, the protagonist decides to move to a small city in Argentina to work as a museum custodian and enjoy at least a year of peace and quiet. Limiting her talking and social interactions, she focuses on her simple and boring work, her garden and researching the town's history, reciting short book reviews of the texts she has read in this novel. But then, an opportunity for an important task threatens not only her own peace, bu Burnt out from her hectic and high stakes job as a conference interpreter, the protagonist decides to move to a small city in Argentina to work as a museum custodian and enjoy at least a year of peace and quiet. Limiting her talking and social interactions, she focuses on her simple and boring work, her garden and researching the town's history, reciting short book reviews of the texts she has read in this novel. But then, an opportunity for an important task threatens not only her own peace, but also the quietness of the town and the museum she chose to withdraw to. Determined to not have to deal with possible public attention and the buzz of many more tourists visiting, she is determined to ruin this town's chance of fame. It is an unusual novel in that the protagonist is resolute to be as boring as possible (and who would want to read about that) and when she does get interesting, she ruins other peoples' happiness for entirely selfish reasons (and who could emphasize with that). So it is not necessarily a funny or motivational book to read, but certainly an interesting idea.

  8. 4 out of 5

    David

    This is a strange little book. Not absurd or weird or anything like that, just strange in the characters and their motivations. I keep gnawing at it, getting things but not quite understanding. I don’t know if it’s just a foreign perspective that I don’t quite grasp or if this oddity is the whole point, but it’s fascinating regardless.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Margie

    A mix of highly observant, clever writing and sections I just wanted to skim. But it was thought-provoking and I will try something else by this author.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lanie Tankard

    Here's my review in The Woven Tale Press: Include Me Out by María Sonia Cristoff (January Woven Tale Press) https://www.thewoventalepress.net/202... Here's my review in The Woven Tale Press: Include Me Out by María Sonia Cristoff (January Woven Tale Press) https://www.thewoventalepress.net/202...

  11. 4 out of 5

    Juanita Nieto Arango

    Escoger el nombre de una novela debe ser tan importante como la historia o sus personajes. Y eso me llevo a escoger ésta novela cuyo nombre está muy bien escogido. Inclúyanme afuera refleja algo que quiere ser pero no es posible que sea. Así es este libro. Algo que no llega a ser. Solo es memorable su nombre y unas 10 frases más a lo largo de sus páginas. Por lo demás, la historia que podía ser muy llamativa - el experimento de aislarse en un pueblo, callar y no preguntar, por un año al que se s Escoger el nombre de una novela debe ser tan importante como la historia o sus personajes. Y eso me llevo a escoger ésta novela cuyo nombre está muy bien escogido. Inclúyanme afuera refleja algo que quiere ser pero no es posible que sea. Así es este libro. Algo que no llega a ser. Solo es memorable su nombre y unas 10 frases más a lo largo de sus páginas. Por lo demás, la historia que podía ser muy llamativa - el experimento de aislarse en un pueblo, callar y no preguntar, por un año al que se somete voluntariamente una traductora- resultó ser aburrida y eterna a pesar de lo corta que es. Hay libros en los que “no pasa nada” pero la construcción de cada personaje y sus emociones es tan fuerte que uno siente que pasa de todo que uno vive la vida del personaje con sus angustias y sus sueños y sus dolores. En este libro no pasa nada ni en la historia ni en los personajes. No sienten nada. No transmiten nada. O nada que valga la pena resaltar, para mi gusto.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Santiago González

    Siamo fuori (Fines de marzo) Yo: ¿Esta novela me va a gustar? Esposa: No me acuerdo nada (la había leído en enero) La compré en la última Feria del Libro porque el título me pareció (me parece) insuperable. Es una novelita corta, 170 páginas; formato corto y letra grandes; se lee en dos días de subte de punta a punta. Pero la verdad es que iba por el primer tercio y ya me estaba embolando mal. No quise abandonarla, nunca abandono libros; menos si son así cortitos. Es la historia de una mina que, sin Siamo fuori (Fines de marzo) Yo: ¿Esta novela me va a gustar? Esposa: No me acuerdo nada (la había leído en enero) La compré en la última Feria del Libro porque el título me pareció (me parece) insuperable. Es una novelita corta, 170 páginas; formato corto y letra grandes; se lee en dos días de subte de punta a punta. Pero la verdad es que iba por el primer tercio y ya me estaba embolando mal. No quise abandonarla, nunca abandono libros; menos si son así cortitos. Es la historia de una mina que, sin explicar bien del todo por qué, después de boicotear su laburo, decide irse de la gran ciudad para laburar en el museo de un pueblo (bah, la ciudad de Luján) haciendo una especia de voto de silencio sin la monjeridad. Tiene tres o cuatro escenitas muy buenas, que sospecho que recordaré por un tiempo (más que mi esposa, espero). Venía como para una estrellita pero al final levanta un poco. En fin, inclúyanse si quieren.

  13. 5 out of 5

    jo-booksy

    En märklig historia som man antingen tycker mycket om eller... inte alls så mycket. Jag tillhör de sistnämnda. Förmodligen för att jag inte förstår mig på Mara. Ligger för långt ifrån min värld.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ariadna

    Le pondría menos estrellas si tuviera la posibilidad de hacerlo y me alegro de no haber tenido las esperanzas tan altas con este título a pesar de que en la contraportada se la haya exaltado demasiado aun cuando la premisa dejó mucho que desear. [spoilers a continuación] Me gustó la idea de Mara de optar por el mudismo luego de un accidente -adrede- cuando interpretaba pero me decepcionó que no se indagara más en su vida anterior, ya que es aquello de lo que está escapando -porque la aqueja- y la Le pondría menos estrellas si tuviera la posibilidad de hacerlo y me alegro de no haber tenido las esperanzas tan altas con este título a pesar de que en la contraportada se la haya exaltado demasiado aun cuando la premisa dejó mucho que desear. [spoilers a continuación] Me gustó la idea de Mara de optar por el mudismo luego de un accidente -adrede- cuando interpretaba pero me decepcionó que no se indagara más en su vida anterior, ya que es aquello de lo que está escapando -porque la aqueja- y la lleva a empezar una nueva vida en un lugar diferente. REZABA porque dejara de lado el tema de los caballos embalsamados por un rato y, como leí en una reseña de por aquí, que se enfocara más en los motivos personales de Mara por los cuales sabotea a los caballos, en lugar de haber sido por algo que se termina interpretando como un capricho; el de dejar que interrumpan su mutismo. Las notas del cuaderno fueron lo que más me sacó de quicio. No hubio coherencia literaria entre digresión y digresión ni sentido de relación entre cita y cita. Lamentablemente, en lugar de usar estas estrategias, de seguir una cohesión narrativa y que aporten al relato de manera relevante, cayó en el snobismo de una autora que por haberse enfocado más en su esquema y de demostrarlo en todo momento de la historia perdió el interés del lector en las primeras páginas, y por obligación a terminarlo o darle una oportunidad finalizó por decepcionarlo. Tampoco podía dejar de leerlo viendo a Mara como la típica "única y diferente" que considera al resto como imbéciles, por lo cual no me hizo empatizar ni con ella ni sus motivos. Ringo, en cambio, me simpatizó más y hasta sus motivos eran entendibles. Para finalizar con la reseña, quisiera destacar que la autora falla en generar suspenso o intriga ya que termina explicando todo lo que ocurre por demás, volviendolo tautológico y hasta haciendo quedar como ignorante o "que no le da" (como leí en otra reseña) al lector porque de no explicarle, no entendería qué está pasando. Por lo tanto, sentí que esta historia fue como ir al cine con un amigo, pero tu amigo entra a la sala y vos te quedás en la puerta; podés escuchar todo lo que pasa adentro de la sala, escuchás las risas, los aplausos, todo, pero no podés entrar porque esperas a tu amigo que salga de la sala para que te cuente toda la pelicula.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    What a strange little book. Many questions, few answers. Entirely compelling. Read very dream-like but with the protagonist as a solid hub around which very little happens. Not a critique but information. It was a good winter read, strangely, for as warm as the weather was inside the story.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Nelly Zapata

    La novela me sorprendió gratamente a medida que avanzo la trama. Inicialmente me disgusto su inicio en primera persona, un poco lastimero, muy descriptivo que no sabia hacia donde iba, pero después del tercer capitulo el complot que se fraguaba se adueño de mi ,quería seguir leyendo. Mara la protagonista es una traductora que se coloca una meta: "no hablar durante un año", para lo cual oculta su vida a los cercanos mientras se interna en un pueblo donde no la conocen de nada, consigue un trabajo La novela me sorprendió gratamente a medida que avanzo la trama. Inicialmente me disgusto su inicio en primera persona, un poco lastimero, muy descriptivo que no sabia hacia donde iba, pero después del tercer capitulo el complot que se fraguaba se adueño de mi ,quería seguir leyendo. Mara la protagonista es una traductora que se coloca una meta: "no hablar durante un año", para lo cual oculta su vida a los cercanos mientras se interna en un pueblo donde no la conocen de nada, consigue un trabajo en el museo mientras se dedica a seguir su libro de retorica( que es como su biblia del silencio, claramente inventado por ella), el cual tiene normas y tips para socializar lo menos posible. Toda esta historia llega a su climax cuando la loca crea un plan para sabotear la exposición mas importante del museo donde labura , a partir de ese momento todos los actos son divertidísimos , claro está, si usted como lector puede entender que la chica hace todo lo posible por lograr su objetivo : mantener su ansiado silencio durante un año. ¡Gran proesa!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mina Widding

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Gillar idén, en udda karaktär som utför ett socialt experiment, "att förbli oberörd" efter att något i hennes arbetsvardag gått åt pipsvängen. Ett slags break med verkligheten. Som väntat går det dock inte så bra, och - mer oväntat, visar sig boken handla om motstånd. Ett rent personligt motstånd, anarki, sabotage. Det gillar jag! Och hur hon förhåller sig såpass "kylig" och distanserad genom allt, medan man gör sig en föreställning om de bakomliggande orsakerna. Inte världens mest spännande läs Gillar idén, en udda karaktär som utför ett socialt experiment, "att förbli oberörd" efter att något i hennes arbetsvardag gått åt pipsvängen. Ett slags break med verkligheten. Som väntat går det dock inte så bra, och - mer oväntat, visar sig boken handla om motstånd. Ett rent personligt motstånd, anarki, sabotage. Det gillar jag! Och hur hon förhåller sig såpass "kylig" och distanserad genom allt, medan man gör sig en föreställning om de bakomliggande orsakerna. Inte världens mest spännande läsning, but it grows on you. Gillar även greppet med anteckningsboken, som både kan läsas som författarens anteckningsbok och huvudpersonens, inför och om det som sker i boken. Vet också oundvikligt mer om konservering av döda djur än jag någonsin velat veta. Det sätt och vis också ett plus.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Aaron White

    A story about a woman in Argentina who, after she unleashed an expose at her former job as an interpreter, relocates to a small town and attempts to be as silent and as uninvolved as she can in the life around her. She takes a job as a security guard at a local museum, but focuses on sitting well, and on the 10 different kinds of silence she has written down in her manual of rhetoric. Events conspire against her though, when she is promoted to assist a taxidermist in the restoration of two celeb A story about a woman in Argentina who, after she unleashed an expose at her former job as an interpreter, relocates to a small town and attempts to be as silent and as uninvolved as she can in the life around her. She takes a job as a security guard at a local museum, but focuses on sitting well, and on the 10 different kinds of silence she has written down in her manual of rhetoric. Events conspire against her though, when she is promoted to assist a taxidermist in the restoration of two celebrated horses the museum is displaying, and she falls back into efforts to wreak vengeance on the overly verbose taxidermist. It is an interesting treatise on the possibility of silence and on the desire to remove oneself from the ins and outs of life.

  19. 5 out of 5

    El Hugh

    The right book at the wrong time. I was bowled over earlier this year by False Calm but bounced off this a little bit. Maybe I should have started off this review with a spiel about the strange and difficult year that's coming to an end. I certainly didn't have the intellectual energy to tackle this book to my satisfaction. Cristoff looks at the female voice and silence via an interpreter who has escaped her like to work in a small town museum. It's beautifully written and impeccably translated The right book at the wrong time. I was bowled over earlier this year by False Calm but bounced off this a little bit. Maybe I should have started off this review with a spiel about the strange and difficult year that's coming to an end. I certainly didn't have the intellectual energy to tackle this book to my satisfaction. Cristoff looks at the female voice and silence via an interpreter who has escaped her like to work in a small town museum. It's beautifully written and impeccably translated but I struggled with it. 3 stars for what I got out of it but I suspect it's a better book than that. Maybe another time.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    A translator goes to a remote town to spend a year speaking as little as possible. She has a set of rules and routines to help her meet this goal, like her job as a museum guard and her project of reading from and following a manual of rhetoric and a very old gardening book. I think she also keeps a notebook. Then she is assigned by her museum bosses to be the assistant to a taxidermist who is restoring two very important horses. After that I can't reveal what she does--- what I can say is that A translator goes to a remote town to spend a year speaking as little as possible. She has a set of rules and routines to help her meet this goal, like her job as a museum guard and her project of reading from and following a manual of rhetoric and a very old gardening book. I think she also keeps a notebook. Then she is assigned by her museum bosses to be the assistant to a taxidermist who is restoring two very important horses. After that I can't reveal what she does--- what I can say is that I don't know if I've ever read a book that feels quite like this. The things she does are very strange, but I'm so interested in the things she thinks that she carries me along into her strangeness.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    An odd book, sort of a celebration and condemnation of the singular, independent revolutionary act. If it’s not embedded in a system of meaning, can it be understood? If it doesn’t make sense, how can it make a difference? How does silence serve and undermine action? Many of the interspersed “notebook” sections didn’t add much to the reading for me, though perhaps that disconnected meaninglessness is simply another layer to the critique.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Francys V

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read the translated version and found it to be difficult to follow at first but once you get past the beginning it picks up and at the end it’s a sort of maniacal ending. Really resonated with Mara’s desire to escape her job and just live in silence and then balked at her sudden evil plan for revenge—although I understood entirely how much it meant to her to follow through with her experiment. An interesting take on the daily struggle for purpose.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    I did not enjoy this book. The description mentions Mara losing her grip on sanity and it does seem like that, both the act that leads her away from her prior life and into her experiment with silence, and the plotting of a pointless and destructive act that is the bulk of the book, were the acts of a person losing their grip. But "this woman is losing her marbles" doesn't really seem like a plot to me, and didn't seem to serve another purpose. I did not enjoy this book. The description mentions Mara losing her grip on sanity and it does seem like that, both the act that leads her away from her prior life and into her experiment with silence, and the plotting of a pointless and destructive act that is the bulk of the book, were the acts of a person losing their grip. But "this woman is losing her marbles" doesn't really seem like a plot to me, and didn't seem to serve another purpose.

  24. 4 out of 5

    KYH

    Ich fand das Buch durchwachsen. Die Einschübe haben mich nicht gestört. Im Gegenteil, ich fand es interessant zu lesen, was Mara so bei ihren Recherchen gefunden hat. Denn dafür ich halte es. Mir geht aber der ganze Ansatz gegen den Strich. Statt einfach zu sagen "Nein, die Aufgabe möchte ich nicht übernehmen" zerstört sie die Arbeit von jemandem, der gar nichts dafür kann. Nicht mein Ding. Ich fand das Buch durchwachsen. Die Einschübe haben mich nicht gestört. Im Gegenteil, ich fand es interessant zu lesen, was Mara so bei ihren Recherchen gefunden hat. Denn dafür ich halte es. Mir geht aber der ganze Ansatz gegen den Strich. Statt einfach zu sagen "Nein, die Aufgabe möchte ich nicht übernehmen" zerstört sie die Arbeit von jemandem, der gar nichts dafür kann. Nicht mein Ding.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Vera

    The story kind of reminded me of My Year of Rest and Relaxation , though it is a very different book. Not a page-turner, but a patient quiet exploration that demands a great deal of focus, which is a lovely challenge. The story kind of reminded me of My Year of Rest and Relaxation , though it is a very different book. Not a page-turner, but a patient quiet exploration that demands a great deal of focus, which is a lovely challenge.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Anna-Klara Aronsson

    En liten kompakt snitsig bok med snyggt språk. Stjärnorna är satta efter mitt personliga tycke om boken. Under läsningen ställde sig orden mellan mig och huvudpersonen och storyn, men en dag senare så har boken växt inom mig och jag är lite mer fascinerad.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt Miles

    Cristoff shares a memorable and thought-provoking as well as, at times, funny story about the many kinds of silence and what it means to even try to achieve it.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Theresa

    Didn't really get it . . . . or enjoy, luckily it is a short story! Didn't really get it . . . . or enjoy, luckily it is a short story!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erika Verhagen

    I guess I expected to love this more than I did. I think it’s more about misguided understandings of purpose than “female silence”, as purported by the back blurb. Hated and then loved the weaving in of academic and journalistic passages but a lot of the structure of the writing (especially in the sections following the protagonist) felt inorganic.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Terry Pitts

    One day, finally tired of the “manipulative discourse” she had to deal with daily in her career as a simultaneous interpreter, Mara took action. Instead of translating to the assembled crowd, she launched into a fifteen minute speech that “examines, scrutinizes, dissects, and exposes” the “vacuous” speeches she had to listen to everyday. After being fired, she took a job where she could be utterly silent. She became a museum guard in a provincial town. But her plans go awry when she is promoted One day, finally tired of the “manipulative discourse” she had to deal with daily in her career as a simultaneous interpreter, Mara took action. Instead of translating to the assembled crowd, she launched into a fifteen minute speech that “examines, scrutinizes, dissects, and exposes” the “vacuous” speeches she had to listen to everyday. After being fired, she took a job where she could be utterly silent. She became a museum guard in a provincial town. But her plans go awry when she is promoted to help the conservator re-embalm the museum’s centerpieces—two famous horses of a specific local breed. It doesn’t take long before she decides to take revenge. Every few pages, Cristoff inserts some writings from a Notebook which summarizes books that she seems to think are relevant to her story. It's not clear if she (the author) is reading these or if Mara (her character) is. Either way, they don't add much value to a story I found rather weak to begin with.

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