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Interesting,
Dramatic,
Addictive

9 reviews

The Silent Patient
by Alex Michaelides

Published: 2019-02-05
Hardcover : 336 pages
67 members reading this now
218 clubs reading this now
16 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 8 of 9 members

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller

"An unforgettable?and Hollywood-bound?new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
?Entertainment Weekly

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against ...

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Introduction

The instant #1 New York Times bestseller

"An unforgettable?and Hollywood-bound?new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
?Entertainment Weekly

The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband?and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.

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....

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of February 2019: The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides feels like it could be the big psychological thriller debut of 2019. The novel takes a few chapters to clear its throat and set the plot in motion, but once the tracks are laid it’s full steam ahead. Alicia Berenson is one-half of a glamorous couple—she’s an artist married to her fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. But when Gabriel returns home late one night, she shoots him five times in the face and refuses to speak again. Now she is being held in an institution outside London called the Grove. When a psychotherapist named Theo Faber becomes obsessed with her case, he finds his way to the Grove to treat her. Dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end.--Chris Schluep, the Amazon Book Review

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

1. How would you describe Alicia Berenson and the life she has lead up to the time she kills her husband? What was your initial sense of why Alicia refused to speak?

2. Alicia's self-portrait is entitled Alcestis, based an ancient Greek Eurpidean tragedy, which in turn is based upon Greek mythology. Do a bit of research into the myth to find out what Alicia might have been saying about herself in her portrait. What, in other words, does the painting reveal about the painter?

3. Follow-up to Question 2: The author once took a post-grad course in psychotherapy and subsequently spent a couple of years working part-time in a psychiatric unit like the Grove. What does Michaelides mean when, in 2018, he said in an interview with the Bookseller…

I saw how the world of psychotherapy might be the perfect modern setting to reimagine [Alcestis'] story and explore its themes of death, guilt and silence.

4. Follow-up to Questions 2 and 3: Do you begin to see Alicia as a mythic character, a parallel to Alcestis? If so, in what way?

5. The author has created his own challenge: he must gradually reveal Alice to readers (and to Theo) without allowing her to tell her own story. How does Michaelides use Alicia's physical appearance and artwork to reveal her character?

6. What do think of Theo, initially, as he begins to work with Alice? What do you come to understand about him, and his motivation, as the book unfolds? In what way does your view of Theo change?

7. Were you shocked by the big reveal at the end? Or did you see it coming?

8. The Silent Patient is called a psychological thriller, but the reviewer of Crime by the Book blog considers it an in depth character study in which both characters' identities take precedence over the actual crime. In what genre would you place the book—character study or plot-based thriller? (It's presumably "both," but let's say you have to choose one or the other.)

Thanks to Litlovers for the questions

Suggested by Members

When this becomes a movie....what actor should play Theo? Alicia? Gabriel? Diomedes?
by valerie.phillips08@comcast.net (see profile) 08/09/19

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

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