Thick walls. Cool shadows. Sunsets fringed by blue hills and tall cornfields. A daily routine of walking dairy cattle to pasture, hoeing an herb garden, preparing meals of vegetables and cheese and bread. The smell of hot candle wax. The quiet eyes of those who cannot speak.
Andrew Chornavka has found refuge from the demons of a long and tumultuous life in a stone monastery and a vow of silence. But the 21st century breaks into his idyllic existence. An archbishop descends upon the monastery and demands to know details about the life of Andrew''s sister, Zoya. Rome is anxious that she be canonized as a saint. Astonished, confused, hostile, Andrew is forced to speak of his life, his family, and Zoya, the friend he always called Zo. He makes his way through the cities and forests of Russia and Canada, of Europe, Ukraine and America, through a world war, famine, revolution, great love and great loss, afraid of what the breaking of his silence may do, afraid of what others might see or fail to see, afraid of what kind of people, what kind of sister, may stand before him again in the clear light of day and demand to be heard.
Murray Andrew Pura''s first novel, Mizzly Fitch, was a finalist for the Dartmouth Book Award. His short fiction has appeared in various publications and has been short-listed for the John Spencer Hill Literary Award. He lives and writes in southwestern Alberta.