Pros: The story is so beautiful that you won’t even mind the lecture
Cons: Stumbles into lecturing toward the end
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
In Rosamund Lupton’s The Quality of Silence, Yasmin has been told that her husband, Matt (a wildlife photographer), died when a small village of Alaskan natives went up in a fire. She absolutely refuses to believe that he’s dead–it’s entirely possible that he was out on a trip taking photos, after all. No matter what proof the police try to give her, she insists he must be alive. If the police won’t continue searching, then by god, she’ll do it for them. She has her ten-year-old deaf daughter Ruby with her, and the two of them manage to find a truck driver who’d be willing to take them part-way. There’s no daylight, there’s a huge storm moving in, and partway along the journey Yasmin ends up having to drive the truck herself. That’s before she realizes she’s being stalked…
The Quality of Silence is one of the most beautiful books I’ve read in a long time. Just watching Ruby and Yasmin come to terms with so many things in themselves and each other fascinated me. Being constantly in danger of dying, with no one else to talk to, forces everyone to take a good hard look at themselves. While this book is probably technically a thriller, it’s the soul-searching that makes it lovely. I particularly love Ruby’s take on things, because it opened my eyes (and ears) to unusual pieces of beauty. The majority of the book is introspective, and yet it gripped me as thoroughly as any action-filled thriller. It’s a work of art.
The point of view can be a bit hard to follow sometimes. It follows the mother in third person, and the daughter in first. This is a great way to differentiate, but there wasn’t a consistent visual delineation between the two, and they went back and forth very frequently at times. Occasionally I had to back up to be sure of where the PoV changed.
Fracking is both a part of the setting and a part of the plot. For the most part there aren’t a lot of lectures on it, although the author clearly is anti-fracking. I’ll give her serious points for managing to work the one real lecture into the climactic thriller-portion scene without entirely derailing the pace. She came up with a brilliant reason why the characters would argue about the subject, even as action proceeds around them. It went a little far IMO, but I’m still impressed with how well it worked in general.
The story gets rather dark. The situation feels hopeless in places, and there were times when I just couldn’t figure out how on earth they’d get out of one fix or another. There’s one plot development that felt a tad too convenient, but not enough so as to disrupt my enjoyment.
I wholly recommend reading The Quality of Silence. It’s riveting, painfully beautiful, and filled with danger both man-made and natural.
NOTE: Review book provided free for review by publisher