Reviewed by Rowena C. Ruiz
What does one do when faced with silence? Brandon Minamoto faces this question as he trudges through the daily grind of day to day living. Living alone in an apartment building located on the reclaimed marshlands of the city, there are days when he feels suffocated, numb and empty. He seeks to fill this void with different activities and sometimes goes to the extreme to bring back a sense of feeling into his life. The crisis comes when Brandon suffers a hand injury, forcing him to take a leave of absence. Decisions must be made as Brandon comes face to the face with the silence that has been waiting for him.
Ellingsen’s book was an interesting read. I must admit that there were parts that were difficult to understand. Parts of the story seemed to have no connection with each other. However, as the story progressed things became clear. The disjointedness is deliberate, for it is a reflection of the turmoil that Brandon feels as he tries to bring together the pieces of his life into a single whole. The chapter titles also act as clues that reveal to us the what Brandon undergoes as he tries to deal with who he is and what he wishes to become.
The theme of silence underlies this work. In a way, it acts as challenge. What is our reaction when we come face to face with silence? Brandon’s feels off balance when he becomes conscious of its presence. He does not ignore it but neither does he actively seek it. We too may have the same reaction because in a world that becomes increasing smaller, the cacophony and clamour of new challenges and changes seem to fill our lives. Yet the silence is neutral. It merely waits for us to come to terms with it. Some may look at silence as a friend. Others view it as a foe to be conquered. The reality however, is that silence is one of nature’s helping hands. When we face it unafraid, silence helps us to gain perspective, shift through our lives to see what is important, helps us to resolve issues and prepares us to be ready for the challenges that lie ahead.
You can purchase your own copy of The Empty City at Amazon.com. It’s also available on Kindle.