Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield

Lupton’s debut novel Sister was one of the bestselling novels in 2010. Her third novel, The Quality of Silence, is a tale of beauty and suspense. Set to the backdrop of the dark but striking Alaska, Lupton weaves a tale of intrigue.

Yasmin is meeting her documentary filmmaker husband Matt in Alaska in a bid to save her deteriorating marriage. With Ruby, her deaf 10- year-old daughter, by her side Yasmin arrives to be greeted by a police officer with the worst news. There has been a fire at Anaktue, the village Matt was staying at, and all 23 occupants have been found dead plus one Caucasian who the police say is Matt.

Yasmin is handed his wedding ring that she puts on her finger next to her own wedding ring. She manages to keep the worst from her daughter but is convinced that Matt is still alive. A phone call and emails give her hope. The police have none of it as they attempt to convince Yasmin that her hope is misguided. Ruby too is sure her father is out in the darkness alone.

Together they set out for Deadhorse in the hope of making it to Anaktue to discover the truth behind the fire. Rumours of oil and fracking spark Yasmin’s suspicion.

Soon Yasmin and Ruby find themselves in a truck alone with an outside temperature of minus 55. Yasmin attempts to drive along the Dalton Highway in freezing temperatures with zero visibility and a storm threatening. Lupton astutely observes the relationship between Yasmin and Ruby as they spend time together with on one but each other to communicate with.

Despite the desperate circumstances, Lupton’s description of Alaska will make you want to go to see the beauty for yourself.

A gripping read that takes you into the darkness of Alaska.

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