Book Review: After the Silence by Louise O’Neill (2020)

Louise O’Neill is an Irish author born in 1985. She is best known for her novels Asking for It, Only Ever Yours, Almost Love, and After the Silence. Her books deal with issues such as feminism, sexual violence, and societal pressures placed on women.

Louise O’Neill studied English at Trinity College Dublin and worked as a freelance journalist before publishing her first novel, Only Ever Yours, in 2014. The book was critically acclaimed and won several awards, including the Sunday Independent Newcomer of the Year at the 2014 Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards.

Her second novel, Asking for It, was published in 2015 and became a bestseller in Ireland. It was also shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards and the Bookseller YA Book Prize. In 2017, she published Almost Love, which was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction.

O’Neill’s most recent novel, After the Silence, was published in 2020. It is a thriller set on a small island off the coast of Ireland and deals with themes of secrets, betrayal, and abuse.

After the Silence revolves around the disappearance of a young woman named Nessa Crowley, who went missing on the night of her return to the remote Irish island of Inisrun after living in the United States for several years. The investigation into her disappearance is led by Detective Sergeant Aoife Kerr, who is also from the island.

As the investigation unfolds, it becomes clear that there are many secrets and lies among the islanders. The truth about Nessa’s disappearance is far more complicated than anyone initially suspected. Aoife must navigate the complex relationships and history of the islanders and her own past to unravel the mystery.

Meanwhile, Nessa’s sister, Kate, returns to the island to search for her sister and confront her own demons from the past. As she delves deeper into the investigation, Kate discovers that there are many people who had a motive to harm Nessa, including her own family members.

Through multiple narrators and flashbacks, the story explores the themes of trauma, abuse, power, and the destructive impact of secrets. Ultimately, the truth about what happened to Nessa is revealed, but not before the island and its inhabitants are forced to confront the darkness within themselves.

After the Silence is a psychological thriller that deals with domestic abuse and trauma themes. The story reveals how abuse and trauma can have a long-lasting impact on individuals and communities and how power dynamics can play a role in perpetuating abuse.

Nessa Crowley, the missing woman at the center of the story, had been a victim of domestic abuse in her past relationship. The story explores how this abuse affected her, as well as how it impacted her relationships with others. The investigation into her disappearance also reveals the ways in which power dynamics and abuse can be intertwined.

Throughout the novel, the characters struggle with their own past traumas and the impact they have had on their lives. The story also explores the idea of silence, and how it can be both a coping mechanism and a tool of oppression. Ultimately, After the Silence is a powerful exploration of the complexities of abuse and trauma, and the ways in which they can impact individuals and communities.

After the Silence was one of my favorite books of 2020, and I highly recommend it. You can get a copy of it from Amazon here.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s