Today I am marking off my twelfth #12 checkpoint category for the POPSUGAR READING CHALLENGE 2020 with:
With film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning Hollywood production company, rights sold in a world record 43 territories, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child and A.J. Finn, The Silent Patient is the international, million-copy bestseller that you need to read this year.
I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me. Sometimes I think . . . No. I won’t write about that.
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.
And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
THE SILENT PATIENT is a heart-stopping debut thriller about a woman’s brutal and random act of violence against her husband – and the man obsessed with discovering why.
‘It is hard to imagine two more different women than Kathy or Alicia. Kathy makes me think of light, warmth, colour and laughter. When I think of Alicia, I think only of depth, of darkness, of sadness.
The Silent Patient by debut novelist Alex Michaelides, is a medical based thriller that pulls in themes of love, obsession, infidelity, trauma, deception and mental illness. Praised by Stephen Fry and Lee Child among others, The Silent Patient is one truly addictive page turner.
The Silent Patient relays the story of a troubled woman named Alicia, who is incarcerated in an institution for those who have a mental illness. Since she was discovered with her dead husband’s body, which was riddled with gunshot wounds, Alicia refuses to speak a word about this crime. Alicia is a woman with a dark family history and it is assumed that in choosing silence over a confession, Alicia is guilty of the crime of killing her husband. After years of continued silence, a new psychotherapist takes on Alicia’s case. He hopes to get further with her than any other previous physician. But Theo’s obsession for this case, crime and woman may cloud his ability to penetrate the depths of Alicia’s silence. What will the truth reveal if Theo can get Alicia to open up to him?
A screenwriter who originally hails from Cyprus, Alex Michaelides forged a successful career in the film industry before penning his debut novel. The Silent Patient is a book that has brought the author immediate success, with the novel reaching a worldwide audience and it has secured a movie deal. I look forward to seeing this novel play out on the big screen, as it definitely has a strong visual quality, which I feel must be down to the author’s background in screenwriting.
I really appreciated the narrative structure of The Silent Patient, we are immersed in the here and now of the book, through Theo’s eyes in the present day. Then we transported back into the past and inside the mind of Alicia, the silent patient of the tale. By reading the supplied diary entries carefully woven into the narrative we are privy to a back story that is marred by love, trauma and mental illness. I thought these aspects of the novel were painted well by Michaelides. Drawing on his Greek/Cypriot heritage has allowed the author to intricately tie in a sub thread on the tragic Greek figures Alcestis. I found this to be a very clever and creative literary device.
There is something very authentic about the institution based and psychiatry focused scenes in The Silent Patient, that I can only deduce to being drawn from the author’s academic background in psychology and his previous experience of working in this field. The novel felt realistic and believable, but also insightful. It also made me feel somewhat down about the treatment of vulnerable people in care. It was an eye opening journey into the mental health system.
The novel itself is driven highly by the central suspense mystery involving why Alicia is silent and the question over what is she possibly hiding. We also wonder if Alicia really did shoot her husband five times. This aspect of the thriller motivated me to turn page after page at a significant speed, until I realised I had got to the end of the novel in just one evening sitting! And I thought I was pretty clever and I had worked out the mystery for once. However, Michaelides pulled the wool over my eyes and completely bamboozled me with a shocking plot twist late in the game!
I have already been recommending this one to readers that I know have a penchant for strong psychological/medical thrillers. The Silent Patient comes with a gold star approval rating from me and I’m looking forward to the next production from Alex Michaelides.
**** 4.5 stars
The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides was published on January 29th 2019 by Hachette Australia. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
To learn more about the author of The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides, visit here.