I consider myself a fan of Rosamund Lupton, having read and enjoyed Sister and Afterwards. And there are things about her writing that I really enjoy: she can evoke strong emotions about the power of love like few authors I can think of, and (as she shows in her latest, The Quality of Silence) she can describe harshness of nature and the dangers of sticking your neck out like nobody’s business!
Her latest book, The Quality of Silence, tells the story of former astrophysicist (hence no intellectual slouch) and current stay-at-home mom Yasmin, who takes her daughter Ruby and heads for Alaska to spend Christmas with Yasmin’s father, nature photographer (think Frans Lanting) Matt. Two complicating factors are that Ruby is deaf and the Yasmin-Matt marriage has been a bit shaky of late.
When they arrive in Alaska, they are told that Matt has been killed in a fire in a remote area, and it seems to Yasmin like the police are not doing their jobs. She is so sure that Matt is alive that she hijacks a big rig to drive them through the rough country to the location to make sure that she saves her marriage and that Ruby doesn’t lose her father.
Along the way, the two of them deal with challenges separately and together, and it feels like Ruby will definitely “be heard” in her life (which is what Yasmin wants most for her), and that Yasmin has recovered some of what she used to be: determined, brave and courageous.
Woven throughout the story are details about the indigenous people of the region and information about fracking, and there is tension that mounts as they near their goal.
This is another of the many recent novels with multiple points of view, which I don’t mind. Lupton seems to be steering herself into the Jodi Picoult mode, combining family challenges with one or more social issues, which I also don’t mind. My biggest problem with the book was that I personally hate being cold, and I found the effectively written description of the harsh environment unsettling. If you don’t mind that, and you like a family-saga-mystery/thriller-with-a-touch-of-social-commentary, you will enjoy The Quality of Silence.
I appreciate receiving a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for my review. Four stars (might have been three except I DO like Lupton, and might have been five except I hate being cold).