Pain and Three Kinds of Death in Dustin LaValley’s ‘A Soundless Dawn’

Vague Visages • Wave Faces

So what is Dustin LaValley’s A Soundless Dawn all about? Well, for one thing, it’s about pain. Yes, there’s plenty of pain in this book… a lot of it is emotional pain, the kind that comes with bad memories, those past moments that afflict your mind with noisy insistence at ungodly hours. There are bad party vibes and eerie urban visitations and suicides and giant, lurching creatures made of rainwater. There are other kinds of pain in A Soundless Dawn, too — plenty of physical, psychological and metaphysical pain, and more often than not it’s attached to the book’s clearest thematic underpinning: Death.

“Death isn’t simple,” LaValley’s narrators and transient characters repeatedly inform readers. And one suspects that LaValley knowingly conveys this sentiment through his formal decisions; by all means, this is an unusually constructed book. The statement that “death isn’t simple” comes first from “the dirty man” who…

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