The Silent Patient
Book Club Selection for March 2020- The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson is one-half of a glamorous couple—she’s an artist married to her fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. But when Gabriel returns home late one night, she shoots him five times in the face and refuses to speak again. Now she is being held in an institution outside London called the Grove. When a psychotherapist named Theo Faber becomes obsessed with her case, he finds his way to the Grove to treat her. Dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end.
"Impressive first novel... with an ending worthy of a classic Agatha Christie mystery."
--The Wall Street Journal
"Superb... This edgy, intricately plotted psychological thriller establishes Michaelides as a major player in the field."
--Publisher's Weekly, starred review
"Pulling off a novel where the protagonist stays mum isn't easy, but this impressive, immersive debut--Brad Pitt's company has snapped up film rights--establishes Michaelides as a writer to watch."
--People, Book of the Week
"Impressive debut...The Silent Patient is intelligent, imaginative and a terrific read."
--The Times (London), Book of the Month
"The Silent Patient may be a first novel, but it has the pace and finesse of a master."
"That rarest of beasts: the perfect thriller. This extraordinary novel set my blood fizzing--I quite literally couldn't put it down. I told myself I'd just dip in; eleven hours later--it's now 5:47 a.m.--I've finished it, absolutely dazzled."
--A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window
"The Silent Patient sneaks up on you like a slash of intimidating shadow on a badly lit street. Alex Michaelides has crafted a totally original, spellbinding psychological mystery so quirky, so unique that it should have its own genre. I read it in two nights and savored every luscious word, every grim encounter, every startling twist. The pages will burn with the friction from your hands turning them."
"Smart, sophisticated storytelling freighted with real suspense--a very fine novel by any standard."
"One of the most spellbinding psychological thrillers we've read in years. Beautifully written, exquisitely plotted, the story relentlessly pulls you in and doesn't let you go until the last shocking (and yet brutally logical) twist. This is an absolutely fantastic and extraordinary read."
--Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, #1 New York Times bestselling authors of the Pendergast series
"Alex Michaelides has written one of the best psychological thrillers I have ever read. The Silent Patient is a swarming, paranoid nightmare of a novel with an ending that is destined to go down as one of the most shocking, mind-blowing twists in recent memory."
--Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter
"This is a wonderful new voice. Listen to it. It's about to tell you a thrilling and scary story. The Silent Patient paints a picture, crawling into your soul in the very best way. Take a chance."
--Brad Meltzer, author of The Escape Artist
"Dark, edgy, and compulsively readable."
"The Silent Patient isn't quiet at all. It loudly announces that Alex Michaelides is a new talent in the field of psychological thrillers."
"Unputdownable, emotionally chilling, and intense, with a twist that will make even the most seasoned suspense reader break out in a cold sweat."
"A taut, meticulously plotted and compelling novel."
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.
Michaelides also wrote the films The Devil You Know, which starred Lena Olin, Rosamund Pike, and Jennifer Lawrence, and co-wrote The Con Is On, which starred Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Parker Posey, and Sofia Vergara. He was born in Cyprus to a Greek father and English mother. He studied English literature at Cambridge University.
CG Book Club Review:
The Silent Patient- Review
Rather than investigating a crime, this book investigates the mind of a criminal - and what an investigation it is. The book is immersive and hypnotic—the kind of confidently drawn suspense story that does not need big, flashy twists to keep you hooked… but the book also delivers a twist or two along the way.
The narrative is presented from the point of view of an emotionally fragile protagonist, psychotherapist Theo Faber. Not having a bold, tough, savvy protagonist is a fresh take. The protagonist’s fumbling choices and sometimes wretched attempts to play the part of detective is what makes this novel work best. You see, he’s mesmerized by the Silent Patient. He’s been mesmerized long before they actually meet as doctor and patient.
The Silent Patient is Alicia Berenson. Wife of famed photographer, Gabriel Berenson, she is an artist in her own right, able to fill galleries with her hyper-realistic art. She loves her husband more than anything else, but then one evening shots are heard and the police arrive and find her standing over his body with a smoking gun, his arms and legs wired to a chair. From that moment on, she refuses to speak. During the trial, she paints a fascinating work which shows her standing naked before her easel, looking back at the those who would observe the painting with haunted eyes. The work is labeled "Alcestis." At her trial, they find her guilty by reason of insanity and she in placed in The Grove, which is a secure psychiatric hospital.
Theo sees all of it and is fascinated by the case. When he gets his chance, he transfers to The Grove and soon finds himself face-to-face with Alicia, trying desperately to get her to talk.
Alicia is not speaking, she’s painting—so much of the plot revolves around this idea. The fun comes just when you think you have figured it out as the author’s sly plot twists come to light.
I have read a lot of psychological thrillers. The premise here is simply incredible; we have a woman who is accused of murdering her husband and proceeds to stop talking and keep quiet for the following six years, living during this time in a mental care facility called The Grove for highly dangerous folks. Enter the psychotherapist extraordinaire and flawed individual. He already has a respectable job elsewhere, but decides to transfer over to The Grove, even though it is a sinking ship, because he is obsessed with the silent killer and solving the mystery behind why she murdered her husband. Along the way, we get snippets into mind set through the woman's diary leading up to the murder, giving us an additional perspective along with the doctor's point of view.
This is a novel that depends on you being fooled by the twist. These types of books are best enjoyed before anyone else has had a chance to read them.
Unfortunately, this particular twist has been done numerous times, so I was clued in fairly early as to what the big twist might be, and without spoiling or giving anything away, the lay out of the narrative in the second half of the novel is what fully clued me in, because it was a little too neat and tidy to end any other way. I will say that I was satisfied and pleased with the way the author chose to close out the final chapter, and regardless of being surprised by the twist or not, it was a classic wrap up that will stand the test of time over the years.
Ken W. Good