Book Review: The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

Review by Lalit Jena

“Her silence was like a mirror—reflecting yourself back at you. And it was often a horrible sight.”

‘The Silent Patient’ revolves around Alicia Berenson, an artist, who after committing murder, goes into a state of absolute silence, and years of it at that. The protagonist, a psychotherapist, Theo Faber is convinced that he can treat her, even after all these years, when she is seen as a failed case. Her silence challenges Theo, who slowly becomes obsessed with her.
Alex Michaelides’ writing is very fast paced. ‘Apart from his technical skill, his writing has an uncanny ability to grab your attention’, making the book very gripping. It’s an easy read. It keeps you going, with thrill lurking around at the end of every chapter that keeps up your interests.
‘The Silent Patient’ promises a group of varied and distinct characters. But apart from Theo and Alicia, most of the characters are one- dimensional. They come and go, but don’t undergo any noticeable change, with their traits remaining generally unaffected by the events surrounding them. They feel constant plot devices, made for the purpose of plot, and not for their independent existence as memorable characters. But to me, this doesn’t affect the book in a negative way, because the purpose of the book is to be driven by the plot.
The general aesthetic is of thrill and mystery. The book adds to its sense of mystery by drawing parallels along a Greek tragedy. The plot of The Silent Patient is a very enjoyable thrill. It goes off in two spheres, Theo’s personal life, and his efforts with Alicia. The book also packs a twist, which might be picked up beforehand, if you are an avid thriller reader. Nevertheless, it still comes up as a beautifully executed twist.
Overall, the book is a thrilling ride. A must read for sure.

Plot Execution: 8/10
Character Development: 7/10
Overall: 8/10

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