Richard and Judy Review: The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton

Richard and Judy Review: The Quality of Silence – Rosamund Lupton

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"It is essentially an absorbing thriller, but unique in the way the storyline is told by both a mother and her child, the entirely deaf Ruby, who sees the world, and especially the wondrously beautiful and icebound atmosphere of Alaska in midwinter through the eyes of an exceptionally intelligent and perceptive child who cannot speak or hear."

Richard’s review

‘My name is a shape, not a sound. I am a thumb and fingers, not a tongue or lips. I am ten fingers raised old – I am a girl made of letters – R-U-B-Y. And this is my voice.

So begins this exciting, evocative novel. It is essentially an absorbing thriller, but unique in the way the storyline is told by both a mother and her child, the entirely deaf Ruby, who sees the world, and especially the wondrously beautiful and icebound atmosphere of Alaska in midwinter through the eyes of an exceptionally intelligent and perceptive child who cannot speak or hear.

When Yasmin flies out to spend Christmas with Matt in the frozen wilderness, she has something more of a reunion on her mind. She intends to give her husband an ultimatum; she believes he has fallen into a relationship with an Inupiak woman, and she is going to tell him that unless he comes home, their marriage is over.

On arrival, Yasmin is told that Matt is dead. She refuses to believe it, so taking Ruby with her she sets out through the tundra in temperatures of -55f, violent snowstorms, and constant winter darkness, to find him.

What follows is an eerie and suspenseful trek across the icy north; when storms mean they cannot fly she hitches a ride with a trucker. When he becomes ill, she steals the truck and drives with Ruby through storms and avalanches, increasingly aware she is being followed by a murderously menacing man in a tanker.

This is a masterful novel – stark and gripping. Another triumph for Lupton.

"The Quality of Silence is an astonishingly good psychological thriller which haunts me on many levels. The way Lupton evokes the stunningly beautiful but viciously threatening Alaska winter landscape is extraordinary."

Judy’s review

This wonderful novel is Rosamund Luptons third. The first, Sister, which became a huge best seller, was about a woman searching for her missing sibling. In The Quality of Silence Lupton returns to the subject of lost family.

Yasmin and her 10 year old daughter Ruby fly from London to Alaska in tome to spend Christmas with Yasmins husband, Matt, a wildlife filmmaker working in Alaska. Hes supposed to meet them at the airport, but instead theyre met by a policewoman. Yasmin is told that Matt is dead, burnt to death in a freak fire. His wedding ring and phone were recovered from the debris.

Yasmin refuses to believe her husband is dead, and she and Ruby set off into the endless freezing winter night of Alaska to find him.

The Quality of Silence is an astonishingly good psychological thriller which haunts me on many levels. The way Lupton evokes the stunningly beautiful but viciously threatening Alaska winter landscape is extraordinary.

‘It was inhumanly dark… clouds made a barricade over the Earth, so there was no moonlight or starlight. Nothing to pierce through the weighted darkness, apart from the trucks headlights.

What makes this thrilling book even more powerful is that Yasmin and Matts daughter is profoundly deaf. The narrative is told from the points of view of both mother and daughter, and Rubys perspective is full of love and innocence. It is to her deafness, as well as the uniquely desolate silent Alaskan snowscape that the novels title alludes.

I loved this exceptional and gripping story.

Press reviews

Here are a selection of the reviews for The Quality of Silence

"…a literary slow burn, whose focus is as much on human endurance and a mothers relationship with her deaf daughter as the mystery of her husbands disappearance…This is Lupton at the height of her storytelling powers."

Daily Mail

"A forbidding Alaskan winter is the setting for this ambitious and imaginative novel…Narrated in part by Ruby, who is a delightfully realized character, (her deafness is treated with great sensitivity), the landscape, wildlife and bitter climate of Alaska are powerfully drawn. Chilling in every sense, you wont want to step away from this story."

Sunday Mirror

"…There are many things to love about Luptons third novel, not least its stunning evocation of the stark, beautiful Alaskan wilds…An elegant icily unique thriller; you wont read anything like it this year."

The Observer