Listening Below the Noise: A Meditation on the Practice of Silence

Anne D. LeClaire, Author, Christopher D. LeClaire, Photographer . Harper $19.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-06-135335-2

Against the cacophony that pervades our lives, novelist LeClaire (The Lavender Hour ) offers a persuasive antidote: silence. Sixteen years ago, LeClaire decided to devote a 24-hour period to not speaking, and it became a twice-a-month practice. LeClaire draws deeply on this experience in calling for a wholesale rethinking of noise and a greater appreciation for quietude and nature. Especially revealing are scenes in which the author or her friends, husband and other family struggle with her practice. It is within this conflict that LeClaire finds the lessons that she wishes to pass on to her readers. With Ann Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea as a model, LeClaire, too, focuses especially on women, encouraging them to carve out a silent space in a demanding world. Both book and the practice seem at once self-indulgent and eminently sensible. LeClaire's prose is colloquial, friendly and familiar, and the book is as much memoir as it is inspiration. Nineteen photos by LeClaire's son illustrate each chapter opening. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/12/2009
Release date: 02/01/2009
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