The next book to be featured on the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club will be The Silent Treatment, the moving debut novel by Abbie Greaves. The book was released on 2 April and Abbie will be on the show on Monday 20 April.
We have an exclusive extract available for you to read.
The Silent Treatment
Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.
For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.
Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet.
But it will take another heart-breaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.
Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?
Selection panel review
The book was selected with the help of a panel of library staff from across the UK. Our readers loved The Silent Treatment – here are some of their comments:
“This story grabs your attention from the start. It covers the tale of 40 years of marriage, 6 months of silence and 3 days of absolute panic. Sounds enormous but the author manages to merge fast-paced present day with reflective flashbacks in a seamless way. The writing fills the characters with life, each with their own distinct meaning, full of emotion, reason and love. I felt so close to them both, their heart-rending anguish. I read it in one small and one long sitting – I couldn’t leave them, in case something happened while I was away. The ending was beautiful, even though I was very teary, and I am so glad I read it.”
“It was an interesting take on relationships and family life, with solid characters who felt both realistic and likeable. The main characters had a lot of depth, which was good as it made me more interested in their story. It successfully tackles a variety of taboo subjects, which included self-harm, consent, solvent abuse, parental issues and more. I found myself wanting to understand the meaning behind the silence, to fully appreciate the characters struggles within their relationships, as partners, parents and friends.”
“This book explores Frank and Maggie’s relationship from the minute they met throughout the ups and downs and because it shows their lives from both of their points of view, the story reads really smoothly and comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I felt really swept up by their lives and the book definitely brought me to tears more than once!”
About the author
Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years. She was inspired to write The Silent Treatment, her first novel, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before.
Abbie lives in Edinburgh with her boyfriend and is hard at work on her follow-up novel, The Ends of the Earth.
A word from Abbie
“I am over the moon that The Silent Treatment has been selected for the Radio 2 Book Club. To have this support for my first novel is such an honour and a boost. After all, who knows books better than librarians and the brilliant ambassadors at The Reading Agency? Before I became a writer, I was always a reader. My love of books was fostered at libraries; as a child, I was weighed down walking home with my loan limit each week and now, as an adult, I can’t say much has changed! Libraries are still the place where I find greatest solace – long may they continue to be.
In The Silent Treatment, Frank and Maggie have been married for forty years but they haven’t spoken for the last six months. And while their situation may be unusual, I hope that you will find the questions it raises universal – those about the dilemmas of parenthood, mental health and loneliness. I hope that their story will move you and stay with you and make you think of all the things that may go unsaid in your own relationships. Most of all, I hope you will enjoy it."
Tune in to Jo Whiley’s show on Monday 20 April to hear a live interview with Abbie.
Read more about the book or leave a review on our website.
Planning to buy The Silent Treatment for your group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.