Book Review: The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle
September 11, 2013 6 Comments
Sounds like the stuff of a nightmare: Pepper is thrown into a psychiatric hospital while there is nothing wrong with him, then finds that no one listens to him as he is an inmate of a psychiatric hospital. So, there he is, stuck on a ward with all kinds of people that do or do not belong there. He’s given medicines that make him so drowsy, that he acts just like all the other patients, and sometimes he loses track of the time.
But when a monster visits him at night, he finds out that other patients are also affected by this creature, which they call the Devil. They find out where in the hospital it lives and together undertake actions to rid themselves of the creature. That’s easier said than done, of course. But several of the inmates, amongst which an 80+ year old schizophrenic and a 19 year old girl, band together to fight the devil.
In the mean time, we learn about all the wrongdoings in the psychiatric ward, such as keeping people there that are not mentally ill, strapping them to their beds for days, when there is a regulatory maximum of four hours, keeping them dosed with so many pills, that weeks may go by without them noticing it. And the worst of all is, I can really imagine this could be true.
The story seems very realistic, and while the main character is not the kind of person I would identify with easily, I found the story highly engrossing and wanted to keep on reading. I loved the closeness of some of the inmates, who had very little in common other than being on the same ward. The devil turned out to be not quite what they (and I) expected and is more down-to-earth than you would think.
I loved reading this story and would like to recommend it to anyone who is interested in life on a psychiatric ward.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)
Number of pages: 412
First published: 2012
I got this: from my Dutch rep for Random House US
Genre: contemporary fiction