The Silent Patient

by Alex Michaelides

"My name is Theo Faber.  I'm forty-two years old.  And I became a psychotherapist because I was fucked up." The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides feels like it could be the big pyschological thriller debut of 2019.

Alicia Berenson is one-half of a glamorous couple-she's an artist marreid to her fashion photographer husband, Gabriel. But when Gabriel returns home late one night, she is accused of shooting him five times in the face and refuses to speak again.  Now she is being held in an instituion outside of London called the Grove.  When a psychotherapist named Theo Faber becomes obsessed with her case, he finds a way to the Grove to treat her.  Dark twists and delightful turns follow, secrets (and a diary) are revealed, and you will likely find yourself racing to the end.   -Chris Schleup,  the Amazon Book Review.

"Promising to be the debut novel of the season The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive... "
- Goodreads

"An unforgettable―and Hollywood-bound―new thriller... A mix of Hitchcockian suspense, Agatha Christie plotting, and Greek tragedy."
―Entertainment Weekly

"That rarest of beasts: the perfect thriller. This extraordinary novel set my blood fizzing―I quite literally couldn't put it down. I told myself I'd just dip in; eleven hours later―it's now 5:47 a.m.―I've finished it, absolutely dazzled."
―A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window


"Her silence was like a mirror - reflecting yourself back at you. And it was often an ugly sight."
Set the Scene


You decide how to introduce the first glimpse of your gathering. 

Our hostess sent a homemade invitation from a poster she found on the internet and overlayed book club meeting details on top.  

You could also send an email invitation similar to the one BadBoy 22 sent to his lover, with the subject line that reads: 
"RE: RE: RE:  Little miss ..."  with the book club meeting details in the content area.  ​​

"Real love is very quiet, very still. It’s boring, if seen from the perspective of high drama. Love is deep and calm-and constant."


The hostess passed out patient ID bracelets as her guests arrived. Outside on the patio she draped white sheets down from her pergola to create the colorless ambiance of an asylum, like the Grove.  Three small vases of wildflowers decorated her dinner table, dressed with a white table cloth.  On the entryway table, the word SLUT is written in red paint across a canvas and the paint brush lay beside it.


Follow the Silent Patient Literary Hostess Playlist that includes the following songs:

  1. Borderline by Madonna 
  2. Do You Really Want to Hurt Me by Culture Club
  3. Everything She Wants by Wham
  4. West End Girls  by Pet Shop Boys
  5. She Drives Me Crazy by Fine Young Cannibals
  6. Somebody's Watching Me by Rockwell
  7. True by Spandau Ballet
  8. Tainted Love by Soft Cell
  9. Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode
  10. Lovesong  by The Cure
  11. Doctor Doctor by The Thompson Twins
  12. Crazy Little Thing Called Love  by Queen

"Choosing a lover is a lot like choosing a therapist. We need to ask ourselves, is this someone who will be honest with me, listen to criticism, admit making mistakes, and not promise the impossible?"
Props and Visuals
Paint Brushes and Canvas
Goldfish Bowl
"The goldfish bowl was the nurses nickname for the station, as its walls were made of reinforced glass -meaning staff could keep their eyes on the patients in the recreation room..."
"The purpose of art therapy is to get the patients drawing and painting, and more importantly, talking about their artwork, linking it to their emotional state."
Eye Patch
"I recognized his eyes, not just the color, but the shape.  And the same smell of cigarettes and smoky aftershave."            
"Something stuck out of her eye socket, plunged into her eyeball.  It looked like a stick.  But it wasn't a stick.  I knew what it was.  It was a paintbrush."
Pills or Rx Bottle
"I did have a bit of a breakthrough - I finally understood what's wrong with the Jesus picture.  Why it's not working.  The problem isn't with the composition - Jesus on the cross-the problem is it's not a picture of Jesus at all.  It doesn't even look like Him  Whatever He looked like.  Because it's not Jesus. "

​"F-ing Christian.  I thought she was drugged out of her mind."
"Then there was silence.  Everything stopped.  Inside my body, every cell deflated; wilting cells, like dead petals falling from a flower.  Jasmine flowers floating to the ground.  Can I smell jasmine somewhere?  Yes, yes, sweet jasmine -on the windowsill perhaps."
Cook the Book
​​Our hostess for the evening created an all white 'asylum' dinner theme   We ate Italian food with chilled white wine like Alicia and Gabriel did every Friday at Augustos'.   An assortment of NUTs, white cheeses, and chilled white wine was served as the patients arrived.  

Option 2:  Consider a light brunch of Champagne with a compliment of smoked salmon and sweet tomatoes on toast slivers, like Gabriel and Alicia had a their picnic. 

Click on a food image to be directed to the recipe site. 
Friday Night Italian Dinner Menu

Mixed Nuts 
A ​White Cheese Assortment
​White Bean Bruschetta
Caeser Salad
Clams and Spaghetti
Smuggled-In Walnut Cake 
"And, I said I was nuts -so it was a match made in heaven."
Parallel Stories
Definition of Admetus. : a king of Pherae who is saved by Apollo from his fated death when his wife Alcestis offers to die in his place. 
"Alcestis is the Heroine of a Greek Myth.  A love story of the saddest kind.  Alcestis  willingly  sacrifices her life for that of her husband,  Admetus,  dying in his  place when no one else will."
Discussion Notes
Popular Book Schemes
Search for other book schemes from the main menu or click on the book image to link to our most popular schemes for inspiration and book club gathering ideas.  
We used   Bookclubz to announce and to manage our meeting.  It is a wonderful organizational tool for scheduling meetings, tracking rsvps and logging and rating your books.  You can upload the book you are reading and send it out to group members with your next scheduled meeting.