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The Devil in Silver
     

The Devil in Silver

4.1 19
by Victor LaValle
 

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NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY
The New York Times Book Review • The Washington Post • Publishers Weekly

New Hyde Hospital’s psychiatric ward has a new resident. It also has a very, very old one.
 
Pepper is a rambunctious big man, minor-league troublemaker, working-class hero (in his

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The Devil in Silver: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
tamsparks More than 1 year ago
I love being surprised, and this may be one of the most surprising books I’ve ever read. When I picked up The Devil in Silver, I was expecting a traditional horror story set in a mental institution. Technically that’s what this is, but not in the ways you might be thinking. The Devil in Silver has horror elements for sure, but there are so many touching human moments in the story that a reader might easily be fooled into believing this is literary fiction. But it's so much more than that. LaValle has created something special by blending complex character studies and a horrific presence that may or may not be human into one seamless and engaging story. Pepper is having a bad day. He’s just been arrested for punching a cop, but instead of being taken to the police station, the three cops from the altercation bring him to the New Hyde mental hospital. Once he’s checked in and told he must remain there for a 72-hour waiting period, Pepper grudgingly accepts his fate and goes about settling in. But due to some highly potent pills that he is forced to take three times a day, the 72 hours stretches into months, and Pepper realizes that in order to get out of the loony bin, he’s going to have to try to break out. His long days and nights in New Hyde are filled with getting to know his quirky inmates, including his roommate Coffee, an older woman named Dorry who greets Pepper when he arrives, and a young teenaged girl named Loochie who is full of unfocused rage but hides a vulnerable spirit. The four become partners in crime as they try again and again to escape the high barbed-wire walls of the hospital, sometimes with tragic results. But lurking somewhere on the second floor is a creature who might be the devil, a monstrous man-beast with cloven hooves and the head of a bison, at least that’s what it looks like to Pepper. Dorry, Coffee and Loochie have all seen the beast as well, and whatever it is, it’s dangerous. Pepper and his friends devise a drug-addled plan to not only escape New Hyde, but possibly kill the devil before they go. One of my favorite scenes happens late in the book after a suicide. In order for the police to complete their investigation, the patients must leave the facility temporarily, so the orderlies take them on a walk to a nearby pizza parlor. The absurdity of this scene, where the inmates focus not on the opportunity to run away, but on the anticipation of eating pizza in a restaurant outside, is a great example of the irony-filled moments that LaValle scatters throughout his book. The book is filled with memorable scenes that really have nothing to do with the “devil” of the title, surprisingly enough, and are the things I’ll remember most about The Devil in Silver. At first I thought the introduction of a new character half-way through was a bad idea, but when Pepper gets together with a Chinese woman named Sue, LaValle sets up one of the book’s most poignant moments. I won’t tell you how the story ends, but believe me when I say the ending is perfect, as the author uses The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh as a catalyst for Pepper’s redemption. Even the final revelation of the meaning behind the book’s title gave me goose bumps, and not the scary kind. My only worry for The Devil in Silver is that it won’t find its audience. This book deserves all kinds of attention, and I hope the label of “horror” does not scare off potential readers. Many thanks to Random House Publishing Group for supplying a review copy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Today I had the pleasure of finishing The Devil in Silver, a novel by Victor Lavalle. Nominally, it's about a sane man who is admitted into a psychiatric unit for evaluation. To add to his misfortune, the hospital is terrorized by a flesh-eating demon that preys on the patients. That, of course, makes the book sound like a horror novel. Not a bad thing in itself, but woefully off-base. This isn't a horror novel any more than it's "Girl, Interrupted." This is a story reminiscent of Catch-22; full of pain and loss and idiocy but also humor, self-discovery, and yes, some genuine frights. I loved the story and the author's style, which often included witty, tangential asides. I'm going to give this book my highest compliment: this guy can WRITE. Grade A+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved every moment with the characters is this story. Although the devil is easy to figure out, the depth of the other patients kept me entranced. I will be recommeding this book to all of my friends....I wish it was a lendable book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Classified as horror but not really. A great piece of adult fiction. The character development is outstanding the story realistic and insightful.
7710 More than 1 year ago
Very surpisng read. Definitely not the traditional horror novel. Excellent!
Anonymous 7 months ago
Loved the writing the characters and story
Anonymous 10 months ago
Not a book I would normally pick up, but the title intrigued me. I never did figure out the reason for the title. Aside from a spurious reference to the. Comstock mining activity in the late 19th century and the tenuous tie to Mr. Vesserplein's door, what????? Are you seeking excitement? Look elsewhere. Other than some pretty fine character development, this book has little to offer.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Blending mysticisim, a unique POV that captured all of his characters (human and others) and the grittiness of Queens together to deliver a scathing critique of the state of mental health care isn't easy, but LaValle did it. I thoroughly enjoyed reading his book. The topic made it a grim read but LaValle left enough glimmers of hope and redemption to keep me turning the pages. While he didn't hold any punches in his descriptions of the treatment of committed patients, seeing the pain from both sides kept things from becoming too polarized. While my knee-jerk reaction is I would love to read a sequel, the author set his ending up with such skill I fear I'd be dissapointed.
bellykiss More than 1 year ago
I actually really liked how the author intertwined everyones life together, especially the rat's POV.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting character development
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Man!!! Gammit!! I gtg!! Sorry!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book gave me herpes. Beware!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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