So Loud a Silence

by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins

Layers of a family story are revealed in the midst of tense and tenuous times in... read more

Layers of a family story are revealed in the midst of tense and tenuous times in Lyll Becerra de Jenkins's eye-opening, radical novel set in Colombia today. Seventeen-year-old Juan Guillermo lives in Bogotá, the oldest child of a poverty- stricken family. When he visits a woman professed to be his aunt, Doña Petrona, a landowner in a rural village in the mountains, he finds, for the first time in his life, a sense of peace and affinity for a place. But life in the mountains is not uncomplicated; indeed, beneath the pastoral beauty is the real danger: the people are caught in the war between guerrillas and the army. Even without gunfire in the streets, their lives are threatened if they speak the wrong words or express the wrong sympathies. While the elders of the village, Doña Petrona included, preach measured restraint, Juan finds himself drawn to the passionate beliefs of the young people who call for action. At the same time he finds himself in conflict with this strong yet compassionate woman he is longing for her respect, and for the insights she can give him into his family and his life in a novel that provides and uncommon political perspective for young readers in the United States. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 1996

show less