I can’t imagine that The Quality of Silence by Rosamund Lupton won’t be on my best of list at the end of the year! Let me preface this post by saying that, yes, you do have to suspend your disbelief occasionally but that’s why it’s called fiction. Desperate to confront her wilderness photographer husband about possible infidelity, Yasmin, a Scottish astrophysicist, travels to Alaska to confront him accompanied by her ten-year old precocious, deaf daughter. Yasmin’s intent is to tell him he needs to come home or risk ruining their marriage. Upon arrival, the Alaskan Police pull her aside and explain that there has been a cataclysmic accident in the remote village where Matt was staying and all the Inupiat(an Inuit tribe) Indian residents have burned to death. Since Matt’s wedding ring is found in the rubble it is deduced that he is one of the victims.
Yasmin refuses to believe the Police officer and, with Ruby in tow, goes on a wild and dangerous trip in inclement arctic weather to rescue her husband whom she is convinced is still alive. In a series of mishaps and frightening adventures, Yasmin and Ruby make their way North in a race against time. Lupton’s expertise in painting descriptive passages that portray the sense of place so vividly makes the trip even more terrifying as she renders the arctic temperatures, wind and blowing snow so realistically that the reader may need to turn up their home thermometer.
Not just the story of a dead or lost husband and a heart stopping race against time and weather, Lupton has also enriched her writing with startling facts about fracking, the big business of oil exploration, ecological fragility, wildlife, toxic poisons, being deaf in a hearing world and Alaskan Indian life. I, for one, will be reading other books by this author.