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....
After struggling to finish a book for over 4 months, this was my first book of 2022 and the first I had finished since September 2021! So needless to say, it is a great book to get you over a reading slump.
The Silent Patient has long been a Bookstagram favourite and sat on my To Be Read shelf for a long time. I find these very hyped books can be a little scary to read, it is like a movie who everyone talks about it and then you watch it and it doesn't quite meet your built up expectations. But after a long time of putting it off, I finally picked up this book and am happy to report that I really enjoyed it - I read it in 5 days!
I think the thing I loved the most about this book was the writing style and the narrative, which will definitely encourage me to read more from Michaelides. The narrative follows Theo, one of our protagonists, and I loved how deep we were in his psyche and how we could immediately tell there was a lot more beneath the surface with him. It wasn't the perfect balance of 'normal, every day person' and 'something a little off and creepy.' You were completely immersed in the story as a whole and wanted to find out more about Theo, as well as Alicia.
Thankfully, in this instance, with great writing comes great characters (this isn't always the case!). I thought they were all really well depicted and totally owned their parts of the story. From Alicia's painting and what we learn about her from that, to Theo's ambition and commitment to his job and the secrets it starts to reveal, I found myself completely captured by these characters and their depth.
So you're probably wondering why I am only giving this book an 8 out of 10 and not a 10 out of 10 and that is unfortunately due to the ending. There were some excellent twists and turns, which is a must with any decent psychological thriller, but I just found the ending became a little chaotic. I liked the slow pace of the book and how it slowly unravelled and revealed more and then the last few chapters went from 0 to 100 very fast and it was hard to keep up after such a soft journey through the rest of the story. Don't get me wrong, the ending is clever and I think will really impress a lot of readers, but it just didn't land as well with me.
Anyway, overall this is a very good, clever, quick read. As mentioned, it was the first book I had managed to finish in months so that just shows it is very easy to pick and get completely lost into. I'll definitely be reading more from Michaelides.
IN 3 WORDS/PHRASES:
'....we often mistake love for fireworks - for drama and dysfunction. But real love is very quiet, very still. It's boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm - and constant.'
Not sure I have one to be honest, they weren't the most likeable!