NORTH AFRICA, MIDDLE EAST AND CENTRAL ASIA

The writer of The Silent Patient, Alex Michaelides, is a successful screen writer who was raised in Cyprus by his Greek Cypriot father and English mother, and has lived in the UK since the age of 18. The book (published in 2019) has been a huge international bestseller. I hate crime novels at the best of times (it baffles me that people find the genre cosy, I find it terrifying and a bit sickening!). But this was a pick for my book club, and it seemed that it might be gripping and distracting and light, and just what we all needed.

Alicia is a successful artist whose husband Gabriel was found brutally murdered at home. She is assumed guilty of the crime, and admitted to a mental institution after refusing to speak at all in the days, weeks and months following the crime. Theo is a therapist who is determined to help her find her voice again.

But the writing is so clunky as to be near unreadable (for me – thousands if not millions disagree!), the plot is full of enormous holes and the pop psychologizing was enough to drive me to drink. The heavy references to Greek tragedies I found somewhat interesting, but in no way sufficient to compensate for the books manifold deficiencies. I must admit there was a good twist, which I didn’t see coming, although I might well have done if I had been more engaged in the plot. Anyway, I hated it, but that’s another one ticked off!

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