Top positive review
This really IS a psychological thriller
Reviewed in Australia on 8 March 2019
Psychotherapist Theo is keen to work with Alicia, an artist incarcerated in a secure unit after murdering her husband and thereupon becoming mute. Author Alex Michaelides did work in a psychiatric unit and clearly knows his Freud from his Jung. After the murder Alicia painted a portrait of herself as Alcestis, the woman in Greek myth who volunteered herself as a sacrifice instead of her husband. She was taken to Hades, but was returned to life in the upper world by an indignant Heracles, however, she refused to speak again. One assumes she was more than a bit pissed off by the willingness of her cowardly husband to sacrifice her. This has more than passing relevance to the protagonist of the current day story. Theo does get the chance to work with Alicia and it’s heavy going at first. Both of them have quite tragic backstories and we get very conflicted views of Alicia from the various people who knew her. The twist when it comes is rather spectacular. It’s a well plotted book and Michaelides is going to write the script for the movie (one of his degrees is in script writing). Names do some of the sign posting. Theo does act like God, there’s a professor whose given name is a variant of Lazarus, there’s a Christian who isn’t, an annoying American neighbour is Barbie (like the doll) Hellman, and Alicia means “noble one”.