Recent Events

Sunday, 28 February 2016

‘The Quality of Silence’ by Rosamund Lupton

Published by Piatkus,
7 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-0-349-40815-6 (PB)

If you think minus four or five degrees has meant a cold few days this winter, imagine minus thirty-four or five, and add the windchill factor of a howling hurricane.

That’s what Rosamund Lupton did, in order to create the marrow-freezing atmosphere of her third novel. The cold is the most present enemy in this gripping psychological thriller, but not the only one. As Yasmin Alfredson sets out to cross the northernmost reaches of Alaska in search of her missing husband, someone is following the forty-ton truck she is driving, and no one believes her.

Matt, her husband, was visiting an Inuit village which has been destroyed by fire, along with its two dozen inhabitants, but despite compelling evidence presented to her, Yasmin’s instincts refuse to accept that he is among the dead. She takes her daughter Ruby, hijacks the truck and drives north through a blizzard and a storm which sends dozens of far more experienced professional drivers in search of cover. But someone is trying to prevent her reaching her goal.

The identity and agenda of that somebody form the main narrative tension and ultimate climax of the story, so you’ll have to read it to find out. Suffice to say there’s far more going on than meets the eye, and the crime at the heart of the book is bigger and potentially more catastrophic than most people, real or fictitious, can imagine.

But the first and best reason to read this book – and you should – isn’t the chase through the Arctic tundra, or the chilling (in more ways than one) denouement. It’s Ruby. Ten years old and profoundly deaf, but more observant, perceptive and articulate than any of the adults around her, she is a constant joy. Lupton uses several narrative voices, but Ruby’s is far and away the most powerful, even though she can’t speak in the conventional sense. As she signs, and types on to a laptop, it becomes plain that her command of language is rich and compelling, but always the voice of a ten-year-old girl.

Lupton evokes the desolation, cruelty and desperate beauty of the Arctic with the power to make you shiver in a heatwave. And set against that background are feisty Yasmin, perfectly pitched Ruby and a collection of minor characters whom they encounter on their journey. It’s not an ordinary thriller, but it has all the teeth-clenching tension the genre requires, and a message the whole world should listen to.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick

Rosamund Lupton was a screenwriter for many years before writing her first novel - 'Sister' . It was the winner of Richard & Judy's bookclub 2010 and broadcast on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime. It was one of Amazon's fiction top ten picks for 2010 and the fastest selling debut in the history of WH Smith. It was published in the USA on 7th June and was picked by the New York Times review of books as well as receiving critical acclaim in a wide variety of other national media. Her second novel 'Afterwards' was published on 9th June in the UK and in its first week of sales went into the Sunday Times best seller list and has had widespread critical acclaim.
She lives in London with her husband and two children.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

No comments:

Post a Comment