Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s. A nameless man is found on the steps of a hospital. Deaf and mute, he is unable to communicate until a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page.
The memories are Safta’s also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor house which was Safta’s family home. Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words. But while Augustin’s world remained the same size Safta’s expanded to embrace languages, society – and a fleeting love, one long, hot summer.
But then came war, and in its wake a brutal Stalinist regime, and nothing would remain the same.
About the Author
Georgina Harding is the author of three novels: The Solitude of Thomas Cave, The Spy Game and, most recently, Painter of Silence, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction 2012. Her first book was a work of non-fiction: In Another Europe, recording a journey she made across Romania in 1988 during the worst times of the Ceausescu regime. It was followed by Tranquebar: A Season in South India, which documented the lives of the people in a small fishing village on the Coromandel coast. Georgina Harding lives in London and on a farm in the Stour Valley, Essex.
This book has been nominated because the subject matter is historical and unusual. This book is written in lyrical, beautiful, intense prose which captures in the extraordinary view of an unusual outsider, who is witness to a tragic time in Romania’s history.