Daughters of Silence

“A story of trauma and reckoning, of flight and return, told honestly, written boldly.”

– Tessa McWatt, author of Higher Ed

Ash from the Eyjafjallajökul volcano fills the skies. Flights are grounded throughout Europe. Dessie, a cosmopolitan flight attendant from Canada, finds herself stranded in Addis Ababa — her birth place.

Grieving her mother’s recent death, Dessie heads to see her grandfather, the Shaleqa — compelled as much by duty as her own will. But Dessie’s conflicted past stands in her way. Just as the volcano’s eruption disordered Dessie’s work life, so too does her mother’s death cause seismic disruptions in the fine balance of self-deceptions and false histories that uphold her family.

As Dessie reacquaints herself with her grandfather’s house, familiar yet strangely alien to her diasporic sensibilities, she pieces together the family secrets: the trauma of dictatorship and civil war, the shame of unwed motherhood, the abuse met with silence that gives shape to the mystery of her mother’s life.

Daughters of Silence is available for purchase from my publisher Goose Lane Editions, Another Story Bookshop and other independent bookstores across Canada, Indigo Books & Music, & Amazon Canada.

  • Why I wrote the novel & why Goose Lane Editions acquired it.
  • Read or listen to an audio of an excerpt from the novel.


All Lit Up: Reflections from the Contributors of Tongues: On Longing and Belonging through Language

The Puritan: Living the Lives.

CBC Books: If you liked The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste, you’ll love Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha

Canadian Writers in Person: Rebecca Fisseha talks about her path to fiction writing

Reading Women Podcast: Bezi reviews two recent Ethiopian reads

The Commentary: Web radio interview with Joseph Planta.

The Source: Diaspora in discussion: Rebecca Fisseha comes to Vancouver.

The Toronto Star: This week in books: happy endings for readers with disabilities, the Giller Prize is up for a prize and where Atwood goes, headlines follow.

CBC Books: 6 works of Canadian fiction to read for Black History Month 2020

CBC Books: Why Rebecca Fisseha wrote about family secrets, trauma and reckoning in her debut novel

CBC Books: Six Canadian writers of black heritage to watch in 2020

Room Magazine: On Community Silencing and Believing in Your Work #GrowingRoom2020

Lithub: Rebecca Fisseha on #Metoo in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Toronto Star: Daughters of Silence a powerful story of relationships in the diaspora.

Pickle Me This: Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha

Quill & Quire: Meet the breakouts of 2019: Rebecca Fisseha, Téa Mutonji, and Zalika Reid-Benta

Zora Magazine: My Complicated Feelings Toward Traditional Ethiopian Wear

Get Lit Episode 157: With Rebecca Fisseha

Winnipeg Free Press: Fall’s slate of fiction shaping up to be a bumper crop of buzz-worthy books.

The Miramichi Reader: Daughters of Silence by Rebecca Fisseha.

Atlantic Books Today: Books that explore the impulse to run away.

CBC Books: 34 works of Canadian fiction to watch for this fall.

49th Shelf: Most Anticipated: 2019 Fall Fiction Preview.

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