Book review | The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton



“[…] she knew now that passion was love, at its most extreme edge, that made you cross an Arctic wilderness in winter” (169).

Here’s a tip: do not read this book in summer. It is just not a summer read. It is a book you should read on a cold and rainy Sunday in your PJs with a cup of tea and a wool blanket.

The Quality of Silence tells the story of Yasmin and her ten-year-old daughter Ruby who undertake a dangerous road trip in a truck across Northern Alaska to find Ruby’s father who is missing. On a long ice road in winter darkness, Yasmin contemplates her relationship with her husband, while Ruby, completely deaf since birth, must find other ways to communicate than by sight. The book is narrated by Yasmin and Ruby alternately. Yasmin gives insight in her worries about Ruby’s disability and the effect it will have on her daughter’s life. Ruby shines a different light on living in a world without sound.

The setting of this novel would give everybody the chills. Alone in unfamiliar, deathly cold and dark Alaska? An inexperienced driver on an ice road? Chased by someone unknown? A psychological thriller indeed. However, to me, the tension built up rather slowly. I had no trouble putting the book down until I was about halfway through. This should not be the case with a thriller. Still it was a nice read and I loved Ruby’s way of thinking. The Quality of Silence might not be a spine-chiller, but it is a complex and beautifully written novel.

Lupton, Rosamund. The Quality of Silence. London: Piatkus, (2015) 2016.

Book review | The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins



To step on a train to me is going on an adventure, even if it is just for a day. I discovered Sweden and Scotland by train. Both amazing journeys that I would absolutely recommend. A book titled The Girl on the Train is therefore something I had to read.

The Girl on the Train is in short about Rachel who on her daily train journey observes a specific house and makes assumptions about the couple, Scott and Megan, who live in it. After an incident involving Megan, Rachel believes she has seen something worth looking into.

“The train crawls along; it judders past warehouses and water towers, bridges and sheds, past modest Victorian houses, their backs turned squarely to the track. My head leaning against the carriage window, I watch these houses roll past me like a tracking shot in a film. I see them as others do not; even their owners probably don’t see them from this perspective. Twice a day, I am offered a view into other lives” (16).

Paula Hawkins composes incredibly beautiful sentences. I am rather jealous of her style of writing. She is able to gradually build up tension and she basically makes you doubt everyone and everything. It is a real whodunit novel. Right until the very end, I was unsure about who the perpetrator was; this doesn’t happen to me very often.

I did have trouble relating to the main characters though. Probably because I felt we did not have much in common. Rachel is an alcoholic who cannot except her husband leaving her for another woman. Megan is mentally unstable.

To me however a thriller is good when I want to finish it as quickly as possible and this book is a fast read. If there is no one around and you are in for a game of Cluedo, pick up this book and put your feet up. The film adaptation of The Girl on the Train is coming to theatres in October.

Hawkins, Paula. The Girl on the Train. London: Transworld Publishers, 2015.