Book (ARC) review: The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 Permalink

I bookmarked the opening sentences of The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa.

On my eight birthday, the world came to a standstill. My mother’s face became a portrait of pain. My father’s face vanished forever.

The story is narrated by Leah, a woman with akinetopsia – or motion blindness. She explains that images stay with her, like photographs. Then she blinks and there’s a new image. It impacts on the way her story unfolds, the way Correa describes her world, what she sees and what she perceives.

Book (ARC) review: The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas CorreaThe Silence in Her Eyes
by Armando Lucas Correa
Published by Simon & Schuster Australia
on 31/01/2023
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 9781761424427
Pages: 272

Leah has been living with akinetopsia, or motion blindness, since she was a child. For the last twenty years, she hasn’t been able to see movement. As she walks around her upper Manhattan neighborhood with her white stick tapping in front, most people assume she’s blind. But the truth is Leah sees a good deal, and with her acute senses of smell and hearing, very little escapes her notice.

She has a quiet, orderly life, with little human contact beyond her longtime housekeeper, her doctor, and her elderly neighbor. That all changes when Alice moves into the apartment next door and Leah can immediately smell the anxiety wafting off her. Worse, Leah can’t help but hear Alice and a late-night visitor engage in a violent fight. Worried, she befriends her neighbor and discovers that Alice is in the middle of a messy divorce from an abusive husband.

Then one night, Leah wakes up to someone in her apartment. She blacks out and in the morning is left wondering if she dreamt the episode. And yet the scent of the intruder follows her everywhere. And when she hears Alice through the wall pleading for her help, Leah makes a decision that will test her courage, her strength, and ultimately her sanity.

Leah’s world is small and she’s mostly content for it to stay that way, although hoping one day for love and a family. And, of course, for her condition to be reversed. Her mother has recently died when we first meet Leah and she’s reluctant to receive sympathy, preferring to get on with life. But her predictable world is interrupted by the arrival of Alice.

As this all unfolds from Leah’s point of view our only insight into her is through the way she sees the world, and the way others respond. Antonia, who’s cared for Leah much of her life expresses concern at times and there’s a sense of something lurking just beneath the narrative. We know that there was a tragedy attached to Leah’s father’s death but don’t know what for much of the novel. It’s linked to Leah’s motion-blindness… the cause, we assume. But there are occasional references to other incidents or stressful periods, that required Leah’s mother to devote her life to caring for her daughter.

Alice piques Leah’s interest and her arrival coincides with a sense she’s being watched or there’s a threat lurking in some way so she assumes it to be related. She likes the idea of being Alice’s confidante and saviour, someone depending on her rather than the reverse (which it’s been for much of her life).

What I assumed to be the climax comes a little earlier than expected. Which of course means the story isn’t done and the direction in which Correa takes this upped the ante for me. Before that it felt a little slow and predictable. We assume Alice is scamming Leah or ‘using’ her – there are far too many coincidences and unanswered questions. And in some ways what we expect comes to fruition, but then Correa throws in a huge curve ball. Like… massive and this book becomes something quite different. And – for me – it ends on that high. With shock or surprise still registering and leaving us perhaps a little breathless.

The Silence in her Eyes by Armando Lucas Correa will be published in Australia by Simon & Schuster in late January 2024.

I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.


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