Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Review: The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton

The northernmost part of Alaska in late November is the setting for The Quality of Silence a surprising new novel by British author Rosamund Lupton. Yasmin has just arrived in Alaska on the twenty-fourth of November, in time to see the sun set, knowing that it will not rise again for another fifty-four days. With her is Ruby, her ten year old daughter who is deaf. Yasmin's husband is not there to greet her at the airport, instead she is met with some terrible news. Unwilling to believe that her husband is dead, Yasmin soon finds herself on a dangerous journey, where she and Ruby battle the harsh climate and a deadly enemy of a different kind ...

The Quality of Silence has two great selling points, the unusual and quietly menacing setting, and the author's brilliant and sympathetic portrayal of Ruby, an innovative child who is wise beyond her years. The sense of place feels very real. The is a real sense of wonder about the natural environment and how it is both fragile and vulnerable against human greed. There are some very credible arguements against fracking.

Although easily a page turner, the story itself stretches the bounds of credibility on multiple occasions and I found the ending to be quite frustrating, though I suppose in many ways it also serves as an interesting metaphor--just as the lives of certain key characters are left in the balance, and they are relying on others to believe them and act quickly, what will to the environment if we don't believe those who speak out against things which destroy out planet like fracking and act quickly?  

An interesting enough read, but a few too many unrealistic plot twists leave it a few steps away from greatness. 

Big shout out and thank you to Hachette and The Reading Room for my ARC.