28 December 2019

Review: THE SILENT PATIENT, Alex Michaelides

  • this edition (large print) published by Thorndike Press 2019
  • ISBN -13: 978-1-4328-5864-3
  • 483 pages
  • source: my local library
  • Amazon best book February 2019
Synopsis (Amazon)

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband―and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

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 Take

One of the narrators in this novel is Alicia Berenson herself, with a diary that predates her husband's murder.

Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband.
They had been married for seven years. They were both artists - Alicia was a painter, and Gabriel was a well-known fashion photographer.

The second narrator is criminal psychotherapist Theo Faber, who gets a job in the Grove, the criminal forensic unit in London where Alicia has been detained. Alicia has not spoken since Gabriel's death and Theo works on strategies to get Alicia to talk.

The novel has a most unexpected twist in the final pages, when we realise that it not only a lesson in unreliable narration, but that the author has also manipulated the time frame of the various chains of events.

My rating: 4.5

About the author
Alex Michaelides was born in Cyprus to a Greek-Cypriot father and English mother. He has a MA in English Literature from Cambridge University and a MFA in Screenwriting from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. The Silent Patient is his first novel.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I've read/heard a lot about this one. You've persuaded me I should indeed look it out . . . once I've got through the current tottering pile of stuff waiting to be read.


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