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Hymns of Silence: Five Stories

Common Consent Press, October 2023

Charles Inouye
Professor and Department Chair
International Literary and Cultural Studies
CHAT Fellow, 2009-2010; 2018-2019

Hymns of Silence are five stories about central Utah. Living in that quiet landscape, we enjoyed few distractions. There was only the silence and the voice in our heads asking, “Why are you alive?” Pressed by the desert wind, we people of Gunnison Valley had three options: to try to find God’s love, to escape into addiction, or to commit suicide.

"I know of no Latter-day Saint I would rather read than Charles Inouye. He has returned again to the well of his upbringing in Sanpete County, this time to bring out of the shadowy vault of memory and from the silence of death the dignity of wounded lives and souls. He seeks to see, as he puts it, as God sees, to see the suffering and beauty of each life and to make from the ashes of life's fires a monument that honors our passing human presence. Inouye teaches us the godly courage to see life as it was, as it is, even when we might prefer to turn away."
--George Handley, author of Home Waters and The Hope of Nature

"How does a soul respond to the deep, truthful silence of the desert? Charles Inouye's five beautiful vignettes of life in the agrarian desert of Utah honor those among us who have lived and died by that silence. Inouye's poetic juxtaposition of people and place, of action and contemplation, of life and death, are rightly called hymns. The stories harmonize elegantly to communicate an abiding sense of wonder and pathos, or, in other words, worship. As I sat in silence at the conclusion of the book, I felt that God was in it with me."
-- Rachel Jardine, associate editor at Wayfare Magazine, and daughter of a Utah farm boy