Daughters of Silence

Daughters of Silence

by Rebecca Fisseha
  • debut
  • diversity
  • literary

First-person narrator Dessie is a flight attendant, who, shortly after her mother’s death in Canada, finds herself stranded in her birth place, Ethiopia, due to the ash and smoke from the volcano in Iceland that closed the skies to air travel in 2010.

Duty commands her to pay her respects to her grandfather, Shaleqa, as soon as she arrives, but Dessie’s conflicted past stands in her way. The family holds multiple secrets, and just as the volcano’s eruption disordered Dessie’s work life, so does her mother’s death cause seismic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions, lies, and false histories that characterizes the relationships among Dessie’s family members.

From the trauma of Italy’s invasion to the shame of unwed motherhood, and abuse that meets with silence, Dessie pieces together the mystery of her mother’s life, and through that process, comes to terms with her own. Psychologically astute, and filled with metaphor, wisdom, and the vibrant colours of Ethiopian life, Daughters of Silence will satisfy readers who loved and Ghana Must Go by Taiye Selasi and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.


Rebecca Fisseha, author

Rebecca Fisseha’s short fiction has appeared in many literary journals, including Room Magazine, Joyland Magazine, The Rusty Toque, and is upcoming in the Addis Ababa edition of Akashic Books’ Noir series. Her play, wise.woman was produced by b current in Toronto in 2009. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Theatre and a Master’s Degree in Communications and Culture from York University; a Diploma in Writing for Film and Television from the Vancouver Film School; and a Certificate in Creative Writing from the Humber School for Writers. Rebecca Fisseha was raised in Ethiopia, Austria, and Switzerland; and has been based in Toronto since 1998. https://rebeccafisseha.com


  • A story of trauma and reckoning, of flight and return, told honestly, written boldly. - Tessa McWatt, author of Higher Ed
  • Rebecca Fisseha’s assured debut straddles two worlds and is vividly, insightfully, embedded in both. She takes on some of the trickiest of family and cultural dilemmas with affection and beady-eyed aplomb. - Aida Edemariam, author of The Wife's Tale
  • Rebecca Fisseha’s remarkable debut tells the story of a family fractured by secrets and grief and a young woman’s journey to find healing and survival. Dessie[‘s] voice—confident, vulnerable and sharp—stayed with me long after I finished reading. Riveting, bold, and beautifully written, this book will break your heart and then precariously mend it back together. - Ayelet Tsabari, author of The Art of Leaving

Rights Holder

Rights Holder: Transatlantic Agency

email: marilyn@transatlanticagency.com

website: https://www.transatlanticagency.com

rights sold: English-language in Canada (Goose Lane Editions)

rights available: World

Additional Information

number of pages: 276

publication date: 09/10/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: finished book