With years of abuse behind her and a bleak future ahead, a young German woman dreams of her country's colony in South-West Africa. When she learns of the women being transported to the colony to attend to the needs of male settlers, Hanna X takes the leap.
In Africa she is confronted with the harsh realities of colonial life. For resisting the advances of a German officer, She is banished to Frauenstein, a phantasmagoric outpost that is at once a "prison, nunnery, brothel, and shithouse." When the drunken excesses of visiting soldiers threaten the young girl who has become her only companion, Hanna revolts.
Mounting a ragtag army of women and native victims of colonial brutality, she sets out on an epic journey to take on the German Reich. Combining the history of colonialism with the myths of Africa, this is a tale, exquisitely written, of suffering, violence, revenge, and love.
A major work by one of the world's most prominent novelists.
… at its best, The Other Side of Silence is a novel of unforgettable power. At one point Hanna is cared for by tribal women, who nurse her body with herbal medicines and calm her spirit with their legends, assuring her that ''there is no pain and no badness that a story cannot cure.'' In the context of the novel, this statement can only seem ironic: Hanna's story certainly cannot cure its own pain and badness. Brink's purpose, however, is not to cure the evils of colonialism -- no novelist could do that -- but to probe to the deepest part of their core. Ruth Franklin