The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton – a review

I was given a copy of this via netgalley and took it on my recent trip to Canada. I have really enjoyed Rosamund Lupton’s previous novels so was looking forward to this one.

The Quality of Silence centres on young girl Ruby and her mother Yasmin. Ruby and Yasmin are travelling to Alaska to meet Ruby’s Dad who is filming over there. However when they arrive they are told he has been killed in a fire that has wiped out the entire village he was staying in. Refusing to give up hope Yasmin hitches a ride across Alaska to try and find him. The story is told from the two characters points of view. Ruby is deaf and refuses to use her speaking voice, yet she has found a new voice through the wonders of twitter. By ‘speaking’ through cyberspace she feels as though she is no longer disadvantaged and is communicating on an equal footing with everyone else. We also hear from Yasmin who tells us about the relationships within the family whilst she looks back on her life with her husband. As the journey continues we begin to understand more about the family dynamics and what is forcing her to risk the lives of her and her child in order to find out the truth about her husband.

This book had me in two minds. The idea was good, and the writing was excellent. Yet I’m afraid I was left a little disappointed by this. Some of it just seemed a little bit too far fetched for me. For example we are meant to believe someone who has never driven a truck before in their life can drive one safely across the ice and even manage to put on snow tyres. I’m just not sure it would be that easy.

I think for me, the issue was actually one of perception. I wasn’t really sure if it was meant to be an environmental story or a mystery or a love story and therefore I think this caused some confusion in my little brain. I am easily confused after all. Putting the far fetched bits to one side, what did stand out was the quality of the writing. Whilst I’m certainly no expert in literature, there were passages that actually made you feel as though you were stood in the middle of a frozen wasteland, and I enjoyed those bits. However there was just something lacking and I got a little annoyed by some of the repetitive descriptions of actions such as putting clothes on and off. Overall I’d say this was an interesting read and a good holiday story although very far fetched in places.

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