The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton
Today I’m reviewing The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton, her highly anticipated third novel, published in the UK by Little, Brown Books.
Rosamund Lupton flew to the top of the paperback charts with her début novel Sister in 2010, making her a best-seller on both the New York Times and Sunday Times lists. Her second novel, Afterwards then went on to be chosen as ‘Best Book of 2012’ by Amazon USA.
When Yasmin learns that her husband has died in a fire that ravaged the tiny Alaskan village he was staying at, she knew it couldn’t be true. The final time they spoke it was tense, to say the least, he’d admitted to kissing a woman from the village and Yasmin had felt the last bonds of their marriage breaking. In desperation, she packed as quickly as she could and along with her daughter, travelled to Alaska.
Ruby was looking forward to seeing her Dad; he’d promised her they would start a blog about the Alaskan wildlife that he was documenting, but as she reads the lips and the body language of the people around her, she knows something is wrong. Being deaf she missed out on some conversations at the police station, (if the person speaking wasn’t looking directly at her) but after a while, her Mum led her away from the warmth and into the cold.
Yasmin and her husband had always agreed never to lie to Ruby, or use her disability against her, yet she found herself bending the truth as they rush around the airport, desperate to find a flight. A storm is on its way and flying isn’t an option, so she turns to truckers to help her.
The pair come across one man willing to help, but they’ve been spotted, and their vulnerability registered. Their journey has only just begun and as the darkness closes in around them they may feel like the only people on the road but someone else is watching…
I enjoyed The Quality of Silence from the very first page, but as Ruby and Yasmin started their journey across Alaska, I was truly smitten. Rosamund’s careful portrayal of the beautiful yet brutal Alaskan landscape is utterly captivating. The duo may not be alone in Alaska but the environment they’re negotiating is just as much of a threat to them as anything else. The ice around them is alive as any of the characters and her use of light and dark weaves a web of tension that is just fabulous.
Along with an incredible environment, The Quality of Silence has two superb female leads. Ruby is an intelligent girl that is old beyond her years due to her disability, making her an integral part of the story and their survival. Her mother Yasmin is equally intelligent and arguably selfish to take her daughter on such a dangerous journey, However, you warm to her conviction and you’re ultimately left white-knuckled as you tightly grip the book, willing her on against all the odds. This glorious tale of determination, survival, greed and love is utterly breathtaking and has been one of my literary highlights of the year.
If you enjoyed The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton, you’ll love The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin.