Book Review: The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

By | August 29, 2016

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Years ago, I read Rosamund Lupton’s debut novel Sister and was mesmerised instantly. Though I was not a fan of her bestselling second novel Afterwards, I did keep an eye out for anything new by the writer and finally managed get a copy of The Quality of Silence. I read the description on the back and though it wasn’t something I’d usually be picking up on my own, I still had a taste of the delicious writing of sister and I hoped I’d come across it again, hence the eagerness I felt as I started this one. 

This time around, my attention was grabbed instantly by the innocent narrative of the sweet deaf-mute 10-years-old girl Ruby, who had just landed in Alaska with her mother Yasmin to meet her father when they realise he was presumed dead in a fire to a remote village. The story is narrated between Yasmin and Ruby, and we see them as they venture into the freezing Northern Alaska on their own to try and find the presumed-dead father since Yasmin, too stubborn to believe or accept her husband had indeed perished, and with no one to believe or assist her, sets out to find her husband on her own.

In the beginning, and during Ruby’s narrative, we learn that she associates words with colours and flavours (i.e. weird feels/tastes like sherbet fizzy) and that she was indeed a child of the new millennia: with a Twitter account she tweets with and a blog she was planning to launch with her father. It is very different, very heartfelt, and the danger surrounding Ruby and Yasmin as they set off in a freezing unknown territory, throated by a stalker who seemed determined to stop them from going on their quest and an arctic blizzard threatening to engulf them all, you are never alone left with a moment of dullness, which is quite admirable considering there isn’t much going on in endless miles of dark and snow, but the writer managed to spin quite a tale and fill the pages without unnecessary stuffing.

However, I have to say I myself did struggle through the pages and it took me a while to finish it. I guess its because of its atmosphere, the description of the severe cold while you are wrapped up in your blanket at bedtime meant you were lulled to sleep sooner than you intend to, or perhaps I was just too tired these past few days. If you are to read it, don’t expect to rush through it, and do keep warm and read it in the winter in front of a crackling fire with a cup of hot chocolate in hand and I promise you, you will be in for a treat. Some books need to be read in the right circumstances, and reading this one on a plane, by a pool, or during bed time would simply not do. Again: winter, warmth, fire, hot chocolate, and the quality of silence, you’ll be all set.

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