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The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

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8908515,470 (3.84)54
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 spotlight of the tabloids 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 search for the truth leads him down a terrifying path and threatens to consume him.… (more)
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Alicia Berenson has been convicted of killing her husband, Gabriel. Unfortunately, she has not spoken a word in her defense. She was found standing in front of her easel, bleeding from a self-inflicted wound, but nothing to say.
She is a famous painter, and Gabriel was a fashion photographer. They seemed like a perfectly happy couple and there seems to be no reason for her to have shot her husband.
She has been remanded to The Grove for the criminally insane. Psychotherapist Theo Faber has become fascinated and acquires a job at The Grove so that he can treat Alicia and learn to make her talk and defend herself.
Twisty and turny this book is. ( )
  JReynolds1959 | Oct 6, 2019 |
Great story, with some good red herrings and some unexpected things. ( )
  Senriel | Oct 4, 2019 |
What a disappointing book! It was so hyped that I was expecting a gripping psychological thriller, but it's so...empty. The characters are caricatures, if even that. The writing is stilted. I can't help but feel that the psychotherapy terms were sprinkled in there to make the book seem more weighty, but I found it gimmicky. It certainly didn't seem like something written by a person with any deep understanding or first-hand experience with psychotherapy and came across as shallow.

I didn't enjoy the experience of reading this book and am relieved I'm done. I guess the ending twist was an interesting idea--that's about all I can say for it. Most disappointing. (But I can imagine someone skillful could make a great film or TV series out of it!) ( )
  emanate28 | Sep 27, 2019 |
Actually listened in audio to this. Wonderful voices were used, I had no trouble at all following who was speaking. Mostly narrated in the past tense. I normally hate listening, as I lose focus easily and waste a lot of time going back to something I remember. This time, I used an eye shade and quiet room. That helped, but reading a paper book is still my preferred method.

That said, this is one book I did not have figured out well before the ending, and I certainly appreciate a surprise. Would highly recommend this book to anyone that reads the genre. ( )
  suline | Sep 25, 2019 |
Very compelling story that didn't pack the wallop intended. Fairly easy to see it coming.

Good read. ( )
  Alphawoman | Sep 22, 2019 |
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Meet the hottest-tipped debut novelists of 2019

The Silent Patient is narrated by Theo Faber, a psychotherapist determined to discover why Alicia Berenson, a famous artist accused of murdering her husband, has refused to speak since her husband’s death. The therapeutic setting was inspired by Michaelides’s own experience. “Therapy is very important to me and has been a major part of my life,” he says.

Running through the novel is the Greek myth of Alcestis, and Euripides’s play of the same name. The Alcestis theme is perhaps one of the reasons that The Silent Patient is finding such traction both among early readers and the tranche of movie executives who fought to option it. With its story of female sacrifice and the silencing of a woman post-trauma, it feels highly relevant in a post #MeToo world. “It’s about silence as a weapon,” Michaelides says. “And it was very clear in my head when I was writing the book that Alicia was surrounded by these men who were imprisoning her. Like Alcestis, Alicia is trapped and she’s denied a voice. It’s a lifetime of being made to think that she wasn’t worthy, she wasn’t good enough, and maybe that’s something that a lot of women [readers] have been responding to.”

The novel has already been optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, with Michaelides due to write the screenplay, a fitting circularity for a novelist who has spent the past 15 years working as a screenwriter.
added by VivienneR | editThe Guardian (Jan 1, 2019)
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But why does she not speak? -- Euripides, Alcestis
For my parents
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I don't know why I'm writing this.
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Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet - and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can't bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.
Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia's silence goes far deeper than he first thought. And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?
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