A History of Silence: a Memoir by Lloyd Jones
Penguin Books, RRP: $38
The first page of this book contains a geological quotation from my colleagues Hamish Campbell and Gerard Hutching: “Faults may appear haphazard, but they are never random. There is always a hidden control or reason for their presence….”. It seemed a strange choice, but the meaning gradually became clear as Lloyd Jones painstakingly pieces together the story of his family, and discovers some of the relationships that his parents never understood or explained.
As always, Lloyd Jones writes wonderful evocative prose, and it was easy for me to identify with some of his experiences. Like him I am also an ‘autumn leaf’, born much later than my siblings, and brought up almost as an only child after the older ones have left home. I work only a few hundred metres away from 20 Stellin Street where the Jones family lived, and know many of the places he describes in Lower Hutt, Wellington and Christchurch. And I have been involved with family research, which so often seems like doing a jigsaw puzzle with half the pieces missing.