The Silent Patient of this story is named Alicia.
She was enamored with her husband, Gabe. But one night, she shot him to death, remaining silent thereafter. Her silence carried her through the investigation, the court trial, and now in her long stay at a psychiatric facility. People have always wondered why she would do it. And why would she not defend herself in court, or at least offer an explanation?
Her new therapist, Theo, thinks he can save her. But really, he needs saving, himself. He admits in the beginning that he is a therapist because he’s f***ed up. Perhaps he’s being self-effacing, we think. Perhaps he uses this as a tool to better understand others.
Or maybe he truly is f***ed up.
He’s a complicated character. At times, we think he’s developing affection for his patient. At times, we think he’s a victim to his wife’s whims. It’s difficult to know here to land on him. Is he truly messed up, or just a misunderstood gem of a man?
Though complicated, Theo is often frustrating in The Silent Patient.
At times, he’s utterly self-aware. Other times, though, he’s very much not aware of himself or his actions. Sometimes he’ll see himself as good. But at other times, he’ll be fully cognizant that he’s up to no good.
It’s a bit too slippery, making his character almost falsely complicated. We can’t get a good grasp on him because the author doesn’t give us enough solidity to grasp onto.
Still, though, The Silent Patient is an interesting book with a helluva twist. We delve into the worlds of psychiatry, art, love, obsession, deception. It plays out like a modern Greek tragedy, Alicia at its center.
The Silent Patient
Published February 2019