The Other Side of Silence – Natasha Mostert

The power of noise over the human mind, in terms of how music can affect us, or noise pollution blight lives, is a known fact in modern life. In The Other Side of Silence, Mostert focuses on this, and on where that power could be played with.

Mostert has picked up the concept of a Pythagorean comma, and the stated aim of the book is to derive a musical scale in which this does not exist. But despite three of the main characters being mathematicians, there is little information on the problem that they are trying to solve or how they are solving it (which makes little sense to me: a perfect musical scale should be easy, making it acoustically pleasing is of course very complex and could arguably benefit from the approach taken, but this is never mentioned.

This may be due to the central character being a woman who does not understand mathematics, and definitely doesn’t understand computers. Whilst the reader does require someone to whom things need explaining at a lay level, Tia’s level of ignorance goes beyond that.

Despite the flaws of such an unaware main character as the only serious female, this is a good exploration of human nature, and the world around us.

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