The Silent Patient
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….
“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive, and will come forth later, in uglier ways. Sigmund Freud”
― Alex Michaelides, The Silent Patient
This is an exceptional debut.
Alex Michaelides “ studied English literature at Cambridge University and got his MA in screenwriting at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. He wrote the film The Devil You Know (2013) starring Rosamund Pike and co-wrote The Con is On (2018), starring Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey and Sofia Vergara. THE SILENT PATIENT is his first novel.” https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17621440.Alex_Michaelides
Alex Michaelides writes a terrific psychological thriller that plays like a film in your head; visual, compelling, surprising. A narrative told in two voices – that of Alicia – whose thoughts and actions are explored via her diary (and art), before and after committing the crime that has her incarcerated in a secure unit, and the voice of her therapist.
I love the trope of the unreliable narrator – and in this book we are privileged to experience two such narrators! What a powerful tool this is in the hands of such a skilled story teller. And there is a magnificent twist that I didn’t see coming.
A great read.