Writing in an Age of Silence
PUBLISHED May 2007
In this powerful book, Sara Paretsky explores the traditions of political and literary dissent that have informed her life and work, against the unparallelled repression of free speech and thought in the US today. In tracing the writer’s difficult journey from silence to speech, she turns to her childhood and youth in rural Kansas, and brilliantly evokes Chicago—the city with which she has become indelibly associated—from her arrival during the civil-rights struggle in the mid-1960s to her most extraordinary literary creation, the south-side detective V.I. Warshawski. Paretsky traces the emergence of V.I. Warshawski from the shadows of the loner detectives that stalk the mean streets of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler’s novels, and in the process explores American individualism, the failure of the American dream and the resulting dystopia. Both memoir and meditation, Writing in an Age of Silence is a compelling exploration of the writer’s art and daunting responsibility in the face of the assault on US civil liberties post-9/11.