is reading The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides for May Book Club.
Alex Michaelides' blockbuster first novel, The Silent Patient combines his fascination with Agatha Christie's suspenseful thrillers, his academic background in Greek mythology, and his post-graduate work in Psychotherapy. In this novel he uses classical elements of storytelling with references from Euripides' play Aclestis and Agatha Christie's Five Little Pigs novel.
Michaelides begins the novel with a quote by Sigmund Freud, "Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways."
In the first chapter the reader is introduced to Alicia Barrett through her diary entries describing the summer heat of London to that of Greece, and the grass under her feet like flickering flames. She recalls another summer so hot -the summer when her mother drives their car into a brick wall with Alicia strapped-in beside her. Alicia survives and her mother dies. Was her mother mad and who was she trying to kill herself or Alicia? She worries she has her mother's madness in her blood.
Alicia and her husband Gabriel are happy, successful and totally in love. She's an artist and he's a photographer. Michaelides drops symbolic imagery from the ancient play, Alcetis. Alcetis' husband, the King has been sentenced to die unless he can find someone else who will agree to descend to the fires of Hades. Alcetis agrees to go and is later returned by Apollo. After Alcetis returns home, she remains silent. Throughout the novel, Michaelides uses this imagery to build tension, such as Alicia and her husband Gabriel lying in bed in the "hot dead air" and the "hot still humid air" while dining. She is working on a painting of Jesus on the cross only to realize it is a image of her husband not Jesus. Has he saved her? Her last painting is a self portrait, titled "Alcetis." What does this mean? This sets the stage for the unwinding of the disturbing events to come.
The Lyceum Players proudly presented Euripides' Alcestis on November 22, 2019.
BritTv December 9, 2020 Agatha Christie's Poirot - Five Little Pigs
"I studied psychotherapy at a couple of different places – I never completed my studies as I decided I was a writer, not a therapist. But I learned a lot, particularly working with troubled young people at a secure unit. I learned a lot and it made me grow up. The idea for the book had been brewing for many years before that – but when I decided to write an Agatha Christie style novel, I knew I needed an iconic, enclosed location – and the secure psychiatric unit came to mind. "
― Alex Michaelides
On Writing, Growing Up, and Too Much Coffee. Alex Michaelides
Thrillers and More
By Miriam van der Linden
Feb 28, 2019
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