A few books have made a lot of noise this year. I love it when the bookish community gets buzzed and creates a bubble around a novel. I was over the moon to be part of the Silent Team and get a review out there when The Silent Patient was released in hardback. I have watched the characters and story charm the world. Today, I’m excited to come back to it with an updated review and a giveaway!
Title: The Silent Patient
Author: Alex Michaelides
Publisher: Orion Books
Date of hardback publication: 12 December 2019
Alicia Berenson is a successful artist with a famous fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. They appear to have the perfect marriage, until Alicia is accused of brutally murdering her husband, shooting him several times in the head. She has refused to speak since. She is sent to The Grove, a secure psychiatric unit in North London, and seen as an isolated and sometimes violent figure who is impossible to cure. Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far bigger, a mystery that captures the public imagination and turns Alicia into a notorious figure in the media.
Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist, has wanted to work with Alicia for a long time, convinced that he could persuade her to open up, thereby helping her to integrate and come to terms with what she did and unravelling the mystery of what happened the night that she killed her husband. When Theo is offered a job at The Grove, he seizes the opportunity knowing that he will meet Alicia. Despite cynical opposition from the top he claims that he can help her to speak again and puts a plan in place to do just that. From there unfolds the most remarkable thriller with a twist at the end that nobody could possibly predict.
What can I say that many wonderful and comprehensive reviews haven’t already discussed about The Silent Patient?
Never had silence sound so deafening.
Oh, my. What a read! This novel is an intricate game of minds but reads so easily that you get lost in the plot, absorbed by the pages, before the end of the opening. Snippets of diaries from a woman, Alicia. The winding path of a psychotherapist, Theo. And noise. Noise all around that keep you on your toes. But you can’t hear it. You feel it. Alex Michaelides’s writing is more than brilliant. I didn’t get the movie feeling while reading his work. It was more than that. My brain and all my senses were alert. I smelled mystery, I felt fear, I heard the inaudible, I tasted blood, I touch coldness, I saw reality. Different realities, actually.
A couple of times in the past, I have had issues connecting to a novel involving therapists, which is weird because they make wonderful characters to dissect, they often pick up interesting details and are useless when it comes to their own issues! But far from the hollow cliché protagonists I encountered before, Theo is a fascinating main character. Yes, he is a psychotherapist, but I didn’t hold it against him. I truly enjoyed seeing events through his eyes, following his train of thoughts to come to conclusions I might not agree with but which made sense. I was so engrossed in the events slowly revealing themselves to me that I did not see the signs…
Why was he so keen on working a dead case? What spurred him to want to enter the mind of a woman everyone else had given up on? With brio and the perfect skill to put down into words the complicate relations between a psychotherapist and their patient, Alex Michaelides intertwined two lives for the journey of a lifetime.
Alicia. An artist, a wife. Well, no, more exactly, a widow. Let’s not forget that at the core of this novel lays the body of a man shot dead with his wife standing before him. Right away, I wanted to jump into her head and find answers. The entries of her diary are so mysterious, filled with love, fear, worry, and hidden thoughts even paper can’t take. I could relate to her finding solace in writing. I have a similar habit, except I then publish them. And I haven’t been suspected of killing my husband. Massive difference between us here!
But better than looking for clues to solve the how her husband died, Theo goes on a quest to save Alicia, whose voice died the same day as her beloved one. This is a two-way quest, though, and we learn as much about Theo as we do about Alicia, like balls on parallel lines bumping into each other, colliding in the strangest, strongest, and most intimate way. They say that when you look into the abyss, the abyss looks into you. Well, while Theo tries to break Alice’s walls, she carefully dismantles his own safe house.
The closer Theo gets to getting Alicia to speak again, the more dangerous it becomes. But for who?
Only I know what happened.
Only the author can speak.
Yes. I was speechless. A massive wave washed over me as I was nearing the end, taking me away from sanity and shaking my head in disbelief, biting my lip as one of the most incredible twist played with my mind and nerves, making me reach for the next page faster, with an urgency I didn’t know I was capable of.
Many of my fellow bloggers had warned me I would love this novel. I didn’t love it. I adored it. There is something so satisfying in giving an author your time and attention, to be rewarded with a unique and thrilling voice in your head, whispering the story of characters that will haunt you for a long time.
I don’t usually reread books. I don’t have time to! But some books are worth making an exception for. My second reading of The Silent Patient was more powerful than the first. My mind was looking for signs, for sounds hidden behind the words. I felt an emptiness I had only caught a glimpse of when I met Alicia and Theo. This is a novel about salvation. But whose? This is a book about answers. But which ones? The plot seems clear about how the cards have been dealt, but the author is playing poker, hiding his big card in the final chapters, when your thoughts are screaming in your head and the mystery threatens to engulf you.
Months after discovering The Silent Patient, my opinion hasn’t changed, despite the new books I have read, and the time I have had to think about the book. The Silent Patient is perfect for fans of cracking and intense reads!
Thank you to Amber at Midas for this fantastic blog tour!
Now here comes the time to share the love! For a chance to win the paperback version of The Silent Patient, all you have to do is:
==> COMMENT ON THIS POST WITH YOUR FAVOURITE SOUND! (personally, nothing can beat the barks of joy from my dogs when I am back home!)
I will draw a winner on Christmas Eve, Tuesday 24th December, and it will be announced on the blog Thursday 26th December!
What’s that for a late Christmas gift? 😃
- UK only
- Must be over 18
Good luck, and listen carefully!