Can the truth really set one free? In Miriam Polli’s debut novel, In a Vertigo of Silence, Emily, the young protagonist, discovers a family secret and thinks, I know now that secrets run in the blood and bones of those who came before. This intensely moving, multi-generational novel follows the lives of women, both strong and frail—shrouded, at times warped, by the confines of a long-held secret. Polli has drawn characters with empathy and poignancy as Emily strives to change the destiny of her family.
Miriam Polli is a native New Yorker who now lives between Key West, Virginia and Greece. Her short stories and poetry have been published in various commercial and literary journals. Miriam lives with her husband Jim Katsikis, who loves to grow things and is now a wine maker.
In this compelling, powerfully written novel, Miriam Polli explores the love that binds us and the secrets that chain us. As the tautly written scenes move back and forth in time and between characters, their stories unfold, as fractured and complex as our lives.
—Mary Morris, author of The Jazz Palace, forthcoming in April 2015
In a Vertigo of Silence is a mesmerizing, multi-generational novel that tracks the lives of a remarkable family of women. The men are there, yes, in the shadows, exerting their influence or not. But, always, we are under the spell of the women—young, old, sick, vibrant, searching, found—each, in their own way, demanding their place in the world. Miriam Polli has written a remarkable book, one that will linger with readers long after the final page has been turned. In a Vertigo of Silence is a tour de force.
—Connie May Fowler, author of Before Women had Wings and The Problem with Murmur Lee
In a Vertigo of Silence is an evocative novel that manages to pack a saga into three hundred pages. Spanning four decades in the lives of an immigrant family, it blends the everyday conflicts between parents and children, husbands and wives, the old world and the new, with the devastating effects of alcoholism, adultery, abuse, and various forms of loss. Miriam Polli writes beautifully, but it’s her understanding of her characters—their impulses, the forces that drive their actions and inaction—that makes this a powerful, memorable book.
—Porter Shreve, author of The End of the Book and The Obituary Writer
Polli neatly dovetails the timelines, focusing on the parallel lives and pulling readers deeper into each woman’s life. Strand by strand, she reveals just a little more about each character, delicately intertwining the various threads of their existences in a way that subtly shows the complex emotional ties that exist between family members. The story grows honestly and organically, to borrow a phrase of Emily’s, and her emotional exploration feels cathartic without becoming cliché.[…] A quiet yet powerful saga of imperfection and the struggle for family connection.
Polli has gifted us with exquisitely drawn characters who instantly become real people to us, drawing us into the beauty and tragedy of their lives.[…] Readers who enjoy novels spanning several generations of a family, providing glimpses into its collective consciousness, will enjoy this lovingly rendered story with its themes of cruelty, loss and ultimately, tenacity. Anyone who has experienced the fractures that can occur over time in a family will be deeply moved by the stories of these strong, intelligent women.
—Chanticleer Book Reviews