Least Silent of Men, The, By Adel Souto, 84 pgs.

Jan 27, 2023

I have to say, this book had a few hurdles to get over in my mind. I don’t think I’ve ever met the author, Adel Souto, but I knew his name from my Miami days. I believe at one point he just used some numbers as his last name, so I thought he might be sort of a mysterious-guy, Rollins-type figure peddling some angry poetry. In addition, the intro by George Petros, about how people should talk less, kind of really pissed me off. In fact, if I were sitting near a fire when I read it, this review wouldn’t have been written. People should talk less? No, you should fucking write less. “I grow weary of hearing others’ opinions …” Yeah, I feel you on that one, Georgie.

I was at least partially wrong. In The Least Silent of Men, Adel Souto documents a personal experiment of sorts in which the author goes an entire month without speaking. A second (much longer) introduction written by Souto himself discusses his reasoning for the experiment. It also includes references to people from various times and cultures who have decided to stop speaking, some for a certain amount of time, others for life. This intro is a great read and makes up a good chunk of the book. It also includes some analysis of the results of the experiment. In the author’s words: “It wasn’t a good idea.”

The bulk of The Least Silent of Men is made up of the words the author wrote in his notebook that he used to communicate with the outside world. Line after line, these range from interesting to mundane. It is funny at times to see only one side of the communication. Some lines are perfect with no context, like “Partial hallucination” or “Spelluminga: a word I just invented.” Others like “Gonna do laundry tomorrow” pretty much keep it grounded. Overall, it’s a pretty random but enjoyable.

Indeed, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. It’s an interesting documentation of a unique project. While I still hate the first intro, I believe if people spent their time conducting and documenting weird personal experiments like the one documented in The Least Silent of Men, the world would be a much cooler place.

PS: It seems this small book was originally released in 2014 and has now been re-released in a hand numbered edition of one hundred. Very cool! –Buddha (Self-published, adelsouto.com)

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