The Weight of Silence

  • by Heather Gudenkauf
  • Narrated by Jim Colby, Eliza Foss, Cassandra Morris, Andy Paris, Therese Plummer, Tony Ward
  • 10 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn's shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night. Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler. Calli's mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter's voice. Petra Gregory is Calli's best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered.Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.


What the Critics Say

Edgar Award Finalist, Best First Novel, 2010

"Every so often you get really lucky, and a book comes along that just knocks your socks off: an absorbing, engrossing, suspenseful read that you just want to keep paging through, a novel that feels a lot like running downhill - fast and a little breathless - until it all winds down and wraps up. The Weight of Silence is exactly this kind of book.... Jodi Picoult has some serious competition in Heather Gudenkauf. [She is] an author to watch.” (
"Deeply moving and exquisitely lyrical, this is a powerhouse of a debut novel. Heather Gudenkauf is one of those rare writers who can tell a tale with the skill of a poet while simultaneously cranking up the suspense until it's unbearable." (Tess Gerritsen)
"Gudenkauf moves the story forward at a fast clip and is adept at building tension. There's a particular darkness to her heartland, rife as it is with predators and the walking wounded, and her unsentimental take on the milieu manages to find some hope without being maudlin." (Publishers Weekly)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A jewel

I have a long commute, so I listen to MANY books. I often just glance through the descriptions and pick at random based on some little thing that caught my eye. This one was a jewel! I do not know how I discovered it, and can't remember why I picked it - but I am certainly glad that I did. It gives a new perspective on consequences of choices that we make in life - even the seemingly small and casual ones. The story of interwoven lives that much is sad but such a good listen.
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- Sara W

A Great Listen

This was my second Heather Gudenkauf listen and I was not disappointed. I love the way she writes from the points of view from each character in her stories, and with different narrators for most of them it adds to making her books a great listen. The readers were cast very well with the exception of 12-year-old Ben, who had a more mature voice than his age represented. This does not take away from the books content however. Gudenkauf writes only the story, leaving out the fluff that some authors include, though you may not know it at first. Can't wait for her next book!
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- Wanda

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-27-2009
  • Publisher: Recorded Books