“Alicia Berenson was thirty-three years old when she killed her husband.”
Who doesn’t love opening up a book to find an absolutely attention grabbing first line? The Silent Patient, a 2019 psychological thriller novel written by British-Cypriot Alex Michaelides, will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. Inspired by Alcestis, an Athenian tragedy by Greek playwright Euripides, The Silent Patient is a bit of a slow-burn. Main character Alicia Berenson, a famous painter married to famous fashion photographer Gabriel Berenson, lived a happy life in London…until she brutally murdered him. Committed to The Grove, a forensic facility nestled in North London, Alicia refuses to speak to anybody and has stayed silent since her arrest. There she is met with Theo Faber, a forensic psychotherapist with an intense fascination around the Berenson case.
Theo, the narrator, walks the reader through a bit of his life leading up to getting a job at The Grove and continues to detail the hardships of working with a patient who simply won’t speak. Theo eventually builds enough rapport with Alicia to get her to speak, and what she admits is a page-turning shocker. Michaelides paints colorful side characters in this Agatha Christie-esque whodunit novel, and you end up itching to find the truth. I don’t want to give too much away because the twist is what really makes this book great.
I stayed up all night to read this book (admittedly, any creaks around the apartment raised my blood pressure) because I just had to know what happened. While I don’t usually consider myself a fan of slow-burn novels, The Silent Patient kept my attention and continuously piqued my curiosity. For those of you not too keen on reading, a movie adaptation is reportedly in the works.
About the Author
The Silent Patient was Alex Michaelides’ first novel and a New York Times bestseller. He found inspiration for this novel at his time studying psychotherapy and working in an adult facility. His new novel, The Maidens, was published in 2021 and is a psychological detective story about murders that take place at Cambridge college. Michaelides doesn’t just write novels; he wrote The Devil You Know (starring Lena Olin, Rosamund Pike and Jennifer Lawrence) and co-wrote The Con Is On (starring Uma Thurman and Tim Roth).
I hope to read The Maidens sometime soon and look forward to more work from Michaelides. Adjusting to school after spring break is always tough for me, so I encourage you to go pick a book and just live in another world for a little. Here’s to the final stretch!
<3 dj mozzie