Dr Mike Lewis is a clinical psychologist working in London. At the allocation meeting, he can find no good reason for not taking on the case of Johnny 2, an asylum seeker who is an elective mute. Mike himself is suffering, his marriage having fallen apart following the death through cancer of his six year old son. As a mental health practitioner himself, he has not thought it appropriate to seek the help of a counsellor, so he is living in a rented flat, in chaos, amongst coffee cups, half-dead pot plants, a sink full of washing up and the packing cases, which he has not been able to muster the courage to unpack, even though he moved out of his marital home five years previously.
However, the case of Johnny 2 fascinates him. By throwing himself into it, invoking all his technical and experience and know-how, he starts to get his life together. Mike and Anita, the art therapist, use art as a means of helping Johnny to communicate. At the same time, a rapport builds up between Mike and Anita, yet he still craves Ella, who is still his wife, even though he hasn’t seen her half a decade. He is torn between two women, not knowing if either of them really want him. Other complications arise, when Georgina, the trainee, is stalked by one of the patients.
For me, ‘Out of Silence’ was rivetting, very emotional and, at one point, very harrowing. All characters were well-drawn and empathetic. A vulnerable and flawed main character goes straight to the reader’s heart. We feel for him, when the departmental secretaries cold-shoulder him when his relationship with Anita isn’t going to – their – plan. (I must say that, when I was a secretary in a psychology department in a psychiatric hospital, way back in the 1970s, I didn’t have that sort of excitement.) We sympathise with Mike at the end when events force him into a position where he couldn’t do anything else, but which is horribly open to misinterpretation.
instant Apostle (who published this book) is a small but active Christian publishing company. Like all the other Instant Apostle novels I’ve read, the Christian content is applied with a light brush, and all the more effective for it.
‘Out of Silence’ is Annie Try’s first novel but the third to be published. I have also reviewed ‘Trying to Fly’ earlier this year. A full five stars for ‘Out of Silence’.
I can now go on and read something else tonight. Do other reviewers have this problem, whereby they don’t feel they can start a new book until they’ve written up the last one on their blog?
I am a member of the Instant Apostle Facebook review group, which invites honest and rigorous reviews . The work was supplied to me free of charge.
‘Out of Silence’ is available from Instant Apostle.