I really enjoyed this book and I think it’s pretty safe to say that I’ll be reading more Silverberg novels in the future.
This book concerns David Selig, or Duv as his sister Judith (who he has a strange relationship with as he can read her most secretive of thoughts) calls him. All his life he has been telepathic and therefore able to read people’s thoughts. However, he’s gradually losing this gift and ‘dying inside’, as the title suggests. The story follows David as this telepathic ability is waning, and the conflicting emotions this gives rise too. On one hand he can’t imagine a life without this gift, and on the other he’s curious to see how we mere-mortals sustain relationships without caressing each other’s inner most thoughts.
This book alternated between first and third person point-of-view, and there was also a chapter that read like an interview. This alternating structure always gives a book a freshness I feel and breaks up the monotony.
One reason I’ve not marked this book higher is that the characters didn’t really jump off the page for me. I didn’t particularly care about David one way or the other. I don’t think the reason I didn’t love David is because he wasn’t adequately drawn, I think it’s simply because I was of the same mind as his sister, and viewed him as a bit of a snake for dredging up everyone’s inner most secrets! As you’ve probably guessed then, Judith was the character I connected with most.
I think the novel may have benefited from being a bit longer as well. It ended rather abruptly and could have done with an extra chapter or two. All-in-all though it posed a lot of pertinent questions about what it is to be human, and makes the reader question their own judgement and perspective.