Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Devil in Silver

For my second read in December I read, The Devil in Silver by Victor LaValle.  The book tells the story of Pepper, a man living in New York City who is mistakenly committed to a mental institution.  While there he meets quite the cast of characters, including one they call "the devil".  Much of Pepper's efforts while in the hospital are spent on escape attempts and figuring out if the devil really exists.

I don't remember how I stumbled across this book.  Likely I was reading a best of 2012 list and got linked to it somehow.  Anyway, I'm glad I did since it was quite an enjoyable read.

At 400+ pages, it has some moments where it gets a little wordy and has some portions I didn't think were super important to the story but I'm letting that slide in this review since I really enjoyed LaValle's writing style.  He is telling you the story at hand, but also talks directly to the reader sometimes (in quotes) and incorporates elements I wasn't expecting.  Like he bring Van Gogh into things.  I'll let you read how, but I was impressed how LaValle pulled things together.  His characters are also very well written.  Complex surely, but relatable despite the fact that they are institutionalized.

Blurbs on the back book jacket talk about how this "literary horror" is "profoundly terrifying" and that LaValle "wants to scare the living &#^$% out of the reader".  I'd like to clarify that by this (I think) they mean with his portrayal of the truly awful conditions of the mental hospital in the book.  Despite the word "devil" in the title, it's the poor conditions of mental heath care system that scared me.  Not only because they are described in a way which is frightening but because I'm afraid that a lot of what happens in the book happens in the REAL mental health care system here in the U.S.. 

Overall, I would recommend reading this book.  I'm also proud to say that I achieved my goal of reading 24 books this year (26 actually!) and I'm very thankful to those who have been reading our blog.  Here's to reading a lot of books next year as well!  I hope you'll keep coming back to read some reviews, find out which books are worth checking out and share your reading adventures/recommendations with us too.  Happy Holidays!


  1. Hooray for reaching (and beating) your goal! I've enjoyed your reviews. Thank you for introducing me to a few great books!

    This one sounds intriguing and terrifying, the reality of our sad system on full display...I'll check it out.

    1. Thank you Angel! I have really appreciated and enjoyed your feedback (and reading your blog!).

      I'm planning to read 24 (or more!) books again this year so keep coming back! :)