cover image The House of Silence

The House of Silence

Blanca Busquets, trans. from the Spanish by Mara Faye Lethem. Regan Arts, $25.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-68245-030-7

A quartet of voices narrates Busquets’s first book translated into English (La Nevada Del Cucut) formulaic but often lovely novel of music and romance. Each narrator takes turns explaining their relationship to a 300-year-old rare violin and, through this, their relationship to the famed and secretive composer Karl T: Teresa, who found the violin as a child while dumpster-diving with her mother; Maria, Karl’s longtime maid who accidentally threw away the violin; spoiled and spiteful Anna, who was Teresa’s violin student and now will be performing alongside her; and Mark, Karl’s son, a less accomplished composer. The four are drawn together at a performance done in honor of the now deceased Karl. The stories each narrator tells are deeply intertwined and contain soap opera twists and turns: a secret pregnancy, a not-so-accidental death, a revelatory letter, and a momentous concert where tricks are played and truths are revealed. While each character maintains an independent, intriguing emotional arc, the voices are often similar, in part due to an overuse of undescriptive dialogue. With a fast pace and plenty of plot twists, Busquet’s ode to music is an entertaining performance surveying envy, love, and revenge—with a handful of missed notes. (Oct.)