The Silent Patient
A dark and twisted psychological thriller of a woman’s violent act against her husband and the therapist obsessed with helping her to talk again.
Alicia Berenson is a famous painter, and has been married to Gabriel, a well-known fashion photographer for seven years. They live in a grand house overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. Alicia is feeling a little depressed, so Gabriel, encourages her to start keeping a diary. One evening, Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot and Alicia, shoots him five times in the face. She never speaks another word.
With Alicia‘s refusal to talk, she was convicted and committed to The Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London. For six years, she refuses to talk to anyone, occasionally exhibiting acts of violence and is therefore kept heavily sedated.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist, who seeks out the opportunity to work with Alicia. His thinks he can get her to talk and perhaps unravel the mystery of why she murdered her husband. His efforts takes him down the twisting path into his own motivations - a search for the truth that threatens to consume him. What is motivating his obsession with Alicia case? Can Theo really help her? Does he really want to hear what she has to say?
“Once you name something, it stops you seeing the whole of it, or why it matters. You focus on the word, which is just the tiniest part, really the tip of an iceberg.”
It’s a ghastly murder by a troubled woman. This haunting tale will have readers ripping through the pages to see if Alicia ever speaks again and why she would have killed the husband she loved. Theo, her therapist with issues of his own, goes above and beyond in investigating the secrets of her past. THE SILENT PATIENT is masterful at creating numerous rabbit holes that will have readers questioning everything they think they know about the story.
The Silent Patient is part crime story, part character study. Alicia’s detailed diary entries are key to unlocking what’s in her mind and who she is. The further Theo digs into her history the more concerned he becomes. Uniquely, author Alex Michaelides finds some basis for this story in the tragic Greek myth of Alcestis. Michaelides writing is good and his character development was stellar.
Author Alex Michaelides is a screenwriter and THE SILENT PATIENT is his first novel. I listened to audible version of the book and found listening to it as eerie as the book's cover. An author interview at the end of the book was very enlightening as his motivations and thought process.
“I’m forty-two years old. And I became a psychotherapist because I was fucked-up. That’s the truth - though it’s not what I said during the interview when the question was put to me.”
Publisher Celadon Books
Published February 5, 2019
Narrated Jack Hawkins, Louise Brealey