Top positive review
18 February 2019
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.