| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
| MY THOUGHTS |
If The Silent Patient has evaded your radar, you must have been living under a rock these past few months. There has been a massive campaign surrounding this one and a buzz so loud, it was almost deafening. Sold to more than thirty territories and with film rights snapped up before publication day, expectations for this one were immensely high!
Alicia is seemingly living the perfect life. She’s a famous painter, married to an in-demand fashion photographer, living in a big house in a very desirable neighbourhood. And yet, one evening when her husband returns late from a photoshoot, Alicia picks up a gun and shoots him in the face. Five times. And then, just like that, she stops talking, never to speak another word again.
A subject like Alicia’s condition is a dream come true for those who like to delve into people’s minds. Theo Faber, a criminal psychotherapist, has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. Can he find a way to make her talk and can he unravel the mystery surrounding the night Alicia’s husband died?
I can’t for the life of me even begin to imagine how hard it is to bring to life a character who doesn’t talk. You would think one-sided conversations would be utterly boring, but no. Alicia isn’t this cardboard version of herself and despite the fact she doesn’t utter a single word, she jumps from the pages and is immensely fascinating. Theo I had a harder time with, but I couldn’t quite figure out why that was. Sometimes someone just irks you, for no reason whatsoever, right? Just me? Okay then.
This character-driven psychological thriller with its intriguing premise makes for some extremely gripping and compelling reading. So full of suspense, so brilliantly executed and so well-paced, this is just one of those books I found impossible to put down. Somewhere along the line, things are turned completely onto its head and the theory I had floating around my brain from the very beginning was blown to smithereens. It made me feel as if I should have picked up some clues along the way but was way too immersed to see them. Mind —> blown!
And yet, I have no problem admitting that I initially felt a little underwhelmed. I felt it lacked something, something I couldn’t quite put my finger on, and it seemed to rely a bit too much on certain events that would redeem it somehow. I know, that’s immensely vague but I can’t say any more than that or I’ll ruin it for you. Yet, it’s also one of those books that I can’t seem to stop thinking about. It has been lingering on my mind for weeks and the more I go over it, thinking things through, the more I seem to like it. Isn’t it weird how that happens sometimes?
Still, The Silent Patient is an impressive debut by Alex Michaelides and he is most definitely an author to watch!