The Silent Patient- a book written by Alex Michaelides and got published in 2019. This book is a murder mystery thriller with a unique setting. You might have seen it in many booktok suggestions.
Is the book worth all the hype? I think the book is unique and it keeps you guessing until the very end. As you read, you also have piqued interest in ‘why’ more than ‘who’ and ‘what’. So here is what I think about The Silent Patient.
This is a spoiler-free review.
The incidental hook makes you wonder what the hell happened. Alicia is silent after killing her husband (Gabriel)- FOR SIX YEARS! Theo Faber, the narrator of the story is a psychotherapist who wants to find answers. He gets a job at The Grove where Alicia has been a patient after her trial. He wants to break her silence and he wants to understand why she was silent in the first place. There are a lot of questions as soon as you get past the first few pages.
- Why did Alicia kill her husband?
- Why did she try to kill herself?
- Why did she paint the ALCESTIS?
- Why is Theo interested in Alicia so much?
- What kind of person Gabriel was?
The most important question is “Why she is silent?”
These questions are the hooks you will need as you continue reading. I will warn you though- Given how the important details are reserved until the end, you might feel all over the place until the middle of the story. But be patient and continue reading. The story is quite layered and so many details are revealed as you go. After a while, you start thinking about who is responsible for what.
In the middle of everything, Theo’s personal life is also explored. His childhood, his family, and more importantly his trauma. Theo is a very complex character. We not only learn so much about Alicia and her past but also Theo himself. His marriage and his personal battles are intriguing. Because we see the psychotherapist Theo and then we see the real and helpless Theo.
We jump narratives from Theo to Alicia’s diary entries. Alicia’s diary entry makes you wonder- If she and Gabriel were so in love, why did the tragedy happen?
Indira and Diomedes are both the kind of characters that you might feel refreshing to read about. This story has so much foreshadowing and irony here and there- the dialogs, especially. So, look out for them.
Some people might have read it in one sitting. But for me, it took a while. I did keep coming back to it. I mean, I wanted to know why Alicia was silent. ‘Who silenced her?’ or ‘What silenced her?’ That was my question. And my guess is that will be your question as well.
The story’s narrative, pacing, and layers are notable. Kudos to Alex Michaelides for doing an amazing job in his debut book. This book spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and sold in a record-breaking forty-nine countries. So yeah, this is a famous book that satisfies the reader of its title, and its genre.
The characters will leave a lasting impact. Alicia and Theo – you will remember them for a while. The fact that Alicia doesn’t speak until page 276, is what makes this book so great. It promises a Silent Patient and it gives one.
So as far as I can say- don’t trust the characters. Most of them are not good. With that said, I must say the experience was surely a happy and satisfying one with this book.
Live through stories!