Seattle Times reviews The Quality of Silence

News 16th February 2016

By Seattle Times staff

In Rosamund Lupton’s remarkable “The Quality of Silence” (Crown, 304 pp., $26), the silence of Alaska’s far reaches is very real for Ruby; she’s completely deaf. This precocious 10-year-old narrates much of the book, as she and her mother trade their comfortable lives in England for a headlong journey above the Arctic Circle, where it gets so cold your eyelids can instantly freeze shut.

They’re searching for their missing and presumed-dead husband and father, a wildlife filmmaker. They hitch rides in planes and trucks and, when one driver falls ill, Ruby’s resilient Mum teaches herself how to drive his rig. It’s not just the environment, with its storms, treacherous roads and deadly temperatures that could do them in; a menacing trucker is following them too.

Readers will need a boatload of suspended disbelief here. (For one thing, would a mother, no matter how desperate, really put her child in such mind-bendingly obvious danger?) Nonetheless, Lupton’s proven gift for making unlikely scenarios believable, and her sensitive depiction of family bonds, make “The Quality of Silence” a compelling and beautifully written journey into the darkest of hearts.

Read the review on Seattle Times’ website here.