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This was the first time I listened to a piece of fiction and I really enjoyed it. The voice acting was good and eventually the listener finds out that the author made it a point to read out the entire book and all the dialogue a couple of times (when the author was interviewed at the end of the audiobook). This helps to make the audiobook sound a lot more "natural". As a story itself, it worked out reasonably well, with a couple of plotholes -- clearly this genre does not anticipate pervasive video surveillance that we see in many countries these days! I can see how this might translate into an excellent movie. I understand the rights have been optioned and I hope they do that well!
Many books are marketed as compelling page-turners. This one certainly is. As sleep-denying novels go, this one must come high up the list. It does not belong in the crime genre, even though crime is involved. Rather it is a psychological thriller, fittingly set mainly within a secure psychiatric ward. The narrator, for the most part, shares top billing with a young girl artist, who after traumatic events refuses,or is unable, to speak, seemingly trapped in post traumatic shock.
The narrator , Theo Faber, is a young psychotherapist, who seizes on the opportunity to work with the patient, Alicia Berenson, in the hope of helping her, and in particular restoring her speech. To say more about the action would be to spoil the experience of being carried along by the plot. It's a novel that can very nearly be read at a sitting, and once past a certain point, is extremely difficult to put down.
On the basis of all this, it would seem the book falls automatically into the highest bracket, yet I do have some reservations. That it is a quick easy read is only partly owing to the intriguing plot. Some of the writing is flat and cliched; the diary sequences are not wholly convincing - I find them inconsistent with an agonised state of mind - there are lapses in grammar and the book needs more careful proof-reading.
The underlying idea is original and promising and it's not a book that anyone is likely to abandon half way through, but it lacks polish; it would have profited by the author standing back at the end and taking a hard critical look. At times I felt it was written in as great a rush as it is likely to be read. I have to admit, though, that it seems to have impressed a large number of people.
This was heading to be a five star book and it's difficult to say why I changed my mind without giving too much away. However, I worked most of it out fairly early on due to there being something a bit off with the timelines of the various threads. Also, I'm not sure if this was supposed to be, but I really didn't like Theo, protagonist psychotherapist, finding him too far the wrong side of arrogant.
All that said, this was a decent fast moving read and, before I sussed it, quite intriguing. No one has got Alicia to speak in the six years since she murdered her, by all accounts, loving husband and Alex is arrogant enough to think he may well be the one to crack her. Aided an abetted by a cast of, on the whole, extremely unlikable characters, Theo begins a new job in the psychiatric hospital where Alicia has spent the past 6 years in silence. There is a multitude of red herrings amongst these not-so-nice people from Alicia's past and Theo's personal life is also giving him grief.
I actually think this will translate extremely well to the promised film version - hopefully to be done in this country as the part of Alicia is made for Keeley Hawes. Come to think of it, the part of Theo would be equally well-served by her real-life husband, Matthew MacFadyen.
This is an entertaining read, if somewhat overhyped. It's set mostly in a hospital for people with serious mental illness, where Alicia Berenson is a patient after tying her husband to a chair and shooting him in the face. The story is told from the POV of the therapist treating her - Theo Faber. Alicia hasn't spoken since the murder six years previously, and is drugged and violent. Theo professes to be determined to get Alicia to tell her story, and essentially that is what the book is about. So far so good. In some ways it is difficult to review because on the one hand, it did keep me reading because I wanted to know what happened next, but when I discovered what happened next, it wasn't convincing. As a narrator Theo is one dimensional somehow, and frankly, not a very good writer. His use of language is limited and I was shocked to find some glaring typos (although that is down to the publisher rather than the author). The book built up to the inevitable 'twist' which was entirely implausible. In fact, given that the narrator was a psychotherapist, he had apparently no insight into his own disturbed psyche and was almost psychopathically lacking in empathy. I have given it four stars because I did find it reasonably entertaining (if a little lightweight) although 3.5 would be more accurate.
Last month I was lucky enough to win an amazon voucher in a raffle, this book was at the top of my wish list so of course I used my voucher to get a copy. • I may be the only one, but I was a little (only a tiny bit) underwhelmed. It developed really well but I guessed the big OMG moment about half way through! This may be my own fault, I do read a lot of suspense thrillers/mysteries. I didn’t guess the entire ending though and it was a fantastic story which I thoroughly enjoyed, but with all of the amazing reviews on bookstagram, I was expecting more. • I loved the chapters that switched to Alicia’s diary entries, helping the reader to understand her struggles, even though she is silent. I do enjoy stories involving asylums or psychiatric wards, to see authors explore the complexities of the human mind and how and why they think a person acts. • It had a great start and pulled me in immediately. Nice short, explosive chapters, extremely well written and gripping. Unputdownable. I stayed up way past my bed time to finish this one. • I really wanted to give this 5/5 but it didn’t make me gasp out loud. I do still highly recommend if you love a good psychological thriller!
Read this in an afternoon. Niall Williams it is not, very perfunctory writing but does the job well enough. The twist was satisfyingly unapparent until the last moments, and took my brain a few 'uh's??!!' to wrap itself around the implications, an enjoyable if disconcerting experience, worth the unremarkable prose to savour the reframes. Now if the author could upscale his language to match his plot weavings, he could become something extraordinary.
A story of the inexplicable murder of a man by his wife, and that of the psychologist who spirals into obsession as he tries to uncover the motives behind the woman who did it.
I love psychological thrillers, this is an excellent one. I did find the juxtaposition of the search for truth in a seeminly insane person leading down a path to madness for a seemingly sane person a bit of a cliché but it was well written and enjoyable nevertheless. The characters and overall situation develop excellently throughout.
My favourite genre is suspense/mystery/psychological thriller books, so naturally after seeing all the hype I picked it up.
I thought the plot was really well thought out and the chapters were well placed. There are many twists and turns which most of them I was saying ‘wtf’ aloud. You constantly think ‘where is this going’ and are often diverted into thinking it’s going to take a different turn than it did. Overall I did really enjoy the book, the ending I was mostly satisfied with.
However, the reason I didn’t give it 5* was for a couple of reasons. I felt in places the writing was sometimes a bit flat. It’s hard to describe particularly why I thought this, but I think at times the writing could be more descriptive and detailed when explaining a scene. Also, some of the characters in the book felt unnecessary towards the story and after finishing the book they had really little to no purpose with the actual plot.
I would say definitely give it a read, it’s an absolute page turner but I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite book I’ve read.
From reading the reviews before ordering I doubted considerably if I was going to enjoy the book or not. It really depends on your personal preferences. Yes, this book is not an outstanding breakthrough in literature. I'd compare it more to a compelling drama. The plot is actually really good, different to the thrillers I have experienced before and I personally think the twist is impressive. A perfect read in quarantine or for just before bed don't be put off by the English critics (but also don't get too swept away by the hype)