The Silent Patientby Alex Michaelides Published 05 Feb 2019
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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....
"The Silent Patient" Reviews
As you will see, it’s an incredible story—of that there is no doubt.
Whether you believe it or not is up to you.
Ohhhh, I see why this book is getting so much buzz: it is virtually unputdownable.
I didn't actually have any plans to read The Silent Patient. I just happened to see it hanging around in the new releases, took a quick peek, and thought-- why not? Well, I'll tell you why not. You absolutely definitely should NOT read this book if you want to go to sleep and get up for real life stuff in the morning. I read this until my eyes were like "nope" and closed on their own.
It's very compelling. A psychotherapist called Theo Faber narrates the story and he announces early on that he's pretty "fucked up". He worms his way into a new job at the Grove mental health facility because of his fascination with the artist Alicia Berenson, who murdered her husband in an open-and-shut case and hasn't spoken a word since.
But let us not forget that while Alicia Berenson may be a murderer, she was also an artist.
Theo finds himself connecting with Alicia and feeling a desperate need to figure out why she did it. And, what's more, he wants to figure out why she is silent. What can't she say? What won't she say? The more he digs into her life, her family, and her past, the deeper in he gets.
It's a fast-paced ride with short punchy chapters (oh, how easy it is to think "just one more chapter"). The story has so many threads and little surprises to uncover. More questions arise at every turn. And even those who work out the main aspect of the mystery will probably still enjoy the journey of finding out why, and all the little shocking discoveries made along the way.
It is true that those who have read a number of twisty mysteries will likely guess the truth, but I think there's enough goodness here to make it enjoyable anyway. Or it was for me at least.
Full of thrills, artistic metaphor, twists and Greek tragedy.
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I feel like I should preface my review by stating that I have read A LOT of psychological thrillers, and coupling that with the fact that this was my most anticipated read of 2019 gave The Silent Patient a great deal of pressure. This will still be an overall positive review, but I felt I had to include some honest thoughts here as well for those readers who may need their expectations in line like I clearly did.
The premise here is simply incredible; we have a woman named Alicia Berenson who is accused of murdering her husband and proceeds to clam up 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 Theo Faber, 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 Alicia and solving the mystery behind why she murdered her husband. Along the way, we get snippets into Alicia's diary leading up to the murder, alongside of Theo's POV.
I can't really give you anything more than this, because this is a novel that depends on you being fooled by the twist. You know, the big twist, the one where every blurb on the cover and every early review gives you a heads up, and perhaps that was part of the issue here for me. It seems these types of books that pull the wool over your eyes and take you by surprise are best enjoyed before anyone else has had a chance to read them. Let's come back around to the fact that I've been reading mysteries, thrillers, and suspense novels for decades, way before Gone Girl was written and these domestic dramas with tricky slight-of-hand became all the rage. If you are new-ish to the psych thriller scene, and you whole heartedly enjoyed recent novels such as The Woman In The Window, you will adore this. It was a well written, compulsive, slow burning build up to an explosive ending. Structurally, it had everything you could ask for, as it was well researched, engaging, and the perfect length of "includes what we need without being overly winded".
Unfortunately, I've seen this particular twist done numerous times, so I was clued in fairly early to what the big twist would 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 too neat and tidy to end any other way. I will say that I was so 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.
I think I'm going to wrap it up here, and please don't let my 3 star rating dissuade you from giving this one a try. Michaelides is talented, and his writing is gripping and keeps you turning the pages regardless of the big twist. I would be honored to read his next novel and will most certainly look for his name in the future. In the meantime I have found so much in this novel worth discussing, from the portrayal of mental health care to the inner workings of various marriages, and think this will make a great winter book club choice for readers around the globe.
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing my review copy via NetGalley.
Wow, I'm still reeling from that ending! A mindblowing, to-die for twist!
A fast read that kept me intrigued from beginning to end, although the shocker came at the end. Wait......wait......what just happened? This was how I felt as a read the last few chapters!
Alicia Berenson is such a mysterious, intriguing character and I was trying to figure her out the entire novel. I kept asking myself, "What is up with Alicia?"She is a famous, talented painter and happily married to her husband, Gabriel. They live in London and have a cozy life.
Why would Alicia murder him and then never speak again? You want to know, right? Well, I did and couldn't stop reading until I found out. It is the feeling you have when you just have to know why!!
The novel is narrated by Alicia's psychotherapist Theo Faber, He is determined to " fix Alicia ". I was so invested in learning what the circumstances of Alicia's silence was and had to find out if Theo could save her. Would she ever speak again? READ IT NOW to find out!
I wasn't going to read this one, and then requested it on NG and I'm really glad I did. As you can tell, I really enjoyed it! Sure to be a 2019 FAVORITE !
Thanks to Celadon/ NG for my arc. Book is out in Feb 2019 Review posted to blog.
My thanks to Ben Willis at Orion Publishing Group for sending me a paperback copy of ‘The Silent Patient’ I have given an honest unbiased review in exchange*
Alicia Berenson was discovered standing over her husband - he’d been tied to a chair and shot in the face five times. Alicia gives no explanation and refuses to speak. She’s admitted to a psychiatric unit, ‘The Grove’ in North London, and six years later she still hasn’t spoken - not one single word!
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has always been obsessed with Alicia’s story, and when a position presents itself at The Grove for someone with his qualifications, he applies for the job and is successful. Theo is certain that he can get her to talk, even though others have tried and failed.
Although Alicia is silent, the narrative speaks to us in a way that she can’t or won’t, throwing the spotlight on the minutiae of her life as a talented artist, and ultimately what led to the events of that fateful night.
Theo’s own personal life is laid bare too, and he’s also a very complex character - indeed not unlike Alicia. If Theo’s attempts to encourage Alicia to speak are successful, will it be something he wants to hear? Because beneath Alicia’s silent exterior, she has plenty to say!
Clever, and compelling, with a humdinger of a twist- I hope the ‘Silent’ Patient ‘speaks’ to you too!
(2.5) This was a solid.... meh for me.
I was excited to pick up this psychological thriller because it has been getting some hype but it was a disappointment. Didn't care much for the characters, the twist was so obvious, the writing just okay. The only redeeming quality was the audiobook which made it possible for me to finish this book.
Unless you never read thrillers I don't think it's worth it.
Another Over-hyped “it’s all about the twist read” that fell short for me.
The Silent Patient is a dark and twist-filled psychological thriller about a woman who stopped speaking the night her husband was murdered and the psychotherapist who treats her 6 years later.
The plot: A psychotherapist’s interest with a patient borders on obsession. The patient does not speak. The psychotherapist believes he is the one who can get the silent patient to speak. Will he succeed?
My frustrations stem from the narrative. The story is told primarily from Theo (the psychotherapist's perspective) woven in with Alicia’s (the silent patient) diaries. I love an unreliable narrator, but Theo lacked the intelligence and masterful skills to make this work. He had me rolling my eyes, laughing inappropriately, and groaning from frustration. I was often commenting in my head about what an idiot he was. Had his character been more developed and less obvious, I might have enjoyed this more.
Here I go again ranting about yet another book I expected to love but I couldn't look past the cartoonish characters, poorly executed plot, and a twist that I could see from a mile away. While I liked the premise, ultimately The Silent Patient was a failure for me.