So imagine my relief when about 3 pages into Steve Sorenson’s book, “In the Key of Silence”, I realized, it was good. Really good!
By way of background, my friend Deb owns and operates a fabulous coffee shop in Bloomington called West Side Perk. One of the benefits of this is she meets a lot of writers who work at her shop. In this way she met Steve Sorenson, the author of “In the Key of Silence”.
“In the Key of Silence” is a novel about a young man named Eli. Even though Eli doesn’t speak verbally in the book because he has selective mutism, he communicates very well through his facial expressions and body language.
The book follows Eli over about a 10 year period from middle school until his early 20’s. Eli has been abused by his father and been back and forth between foster homes. But as difficult as that could be, Steve finds a way to tell his story in a positive way.
Along the way we learn that Eli is an incredibly talented clarinet player who starts out as a street musician and eventually becomes a member of the orchestra.
Steve paints some excellent and vividly portrayed characters. My favorite was Carol, Eli’s foster care advocate who learns to love him as a mother figure while maintaining her professional boundaries. I have some personal experience in this area and I appreciated the nuances Steve articulated in Carol’s relationship with Eli.
For a first time novel, Steve does a great job with dialogue and character development. He created a fascinating plot that has a happy and unique ending. I couldn’t put this book down and read it in about 3 days.
Steve’s personal story was also incredibly interesting. He worked on this novel over a five year period of time. He has a local writers group that supported him as he persistently pursued having this book published for a number of years. The rejection stories he shared were funny yet painful. In the end, he decided to self publish and his book is selling well. I bought it on Amazon.com for a very reasonable price.
If you are in a book club, there is much to discuss. The concept of feeling safe is weaved throughout the novel. What makes someone feel safe? How important is it to feel safe?
I look forward to meeting Steve again when I host one of my book clubs. In the meantime, read the book…it’s a good one!