The Silent Patient begins with a rush, like a bullet train, with Alicia Berenson murdering her husband and never saying another word, not even in her defense. The story is narrated by Theo Faber, a psychotherapist who is fascinated by her and her art. He sought a job at the hospital for the criminally insane where she had been sent. He is shocked by her over-drugged state and works hard to connect with her.
In order to reach her, Theo begins investigating her life, talking to relatives, her agent, and even her brother-in-law whose brother she murdered. He finds a lot of people with mixed motives and who may not have Alicia’s best interests at heart. But then, who does? Does Theo?
Why is he so obsessed with this one patient over all others? Is it just her art or the challenge of her silence? One thing about Theo, everyone else has written Alicia off as a hopeless case and he keeps fighting for her.
The Silent Patient begins so strongly that I was surprised to find myself feeling tired of the story about mid-way to two-thirds of the way. Perhaps it was this feeling on not really liking Theo despite his care and concern for Alicia. He seemed so judgmental and to have so little regard for other patients and his colleague. I tired of his voice.
We hear from Alicia, too, in her diary which is where we eventually learn the truth, though how she was able to write it under the circumstances baffles me. Some will find the end surprising and others will, like me, think it a foregone conclusion in this post-Gone-Girl world.
The Silent Patient will be released on February 5th. I received an e-galley from the publisher through NetGalley.
- The Silent Patient at Celadon Press | at Macmillan
- First Three Chapters Excerpt
- Alex Michaelides on Twitter