C's Reviews > The Devil in Silver
The Devil in Silver
by Victor LaValle
by Victor LaValle
Sep 05, 12
Read in September, 2012
You will be angry at every detail on the way the main character in this book, Pepper, is thrown into a mental institution. How would it help someone's mental state if they are on medication that won't allow them to move their limbs? The book seems to feature a basic, simple concept: the patients at a mental institution. But then it includes one element that you aren't sure is real until the very end: the devil. I adore all of the of characters. I would say it's the books best accomplishment. It's important to have characters in a mental institution be relatable, and these here certainly are. Sadly though, you never really get many back stories on these characters. You don't see their lives outside of the mental hospital. They become the stigma of mental illness. Their mental illness becomes the only important thing in their lives. Even when the characters get a chance to get out of the mental hospital they have been locked in for months or in some cases years, while they are enjoying the sound of wind through the trees, they are still discussing their illnesses. You'd think it would be the one moment they forgot about it. But it seems to happen that way outside of fiction -- once you are labeled with a mental illness, you and no one else around you can get past that. Despite that, the characters are great and it is a testament to LaValle's skill. I loved Pepper on page five as soon as he made a joke about the cops bringing him to the mental hospital being Huey, Duey & Louie and the metal door to the ward being their Uncle Scrooge's money vault door. The cops reminded me of the beginning of Kafka's 'The Trial'. Other books I was reminded of: Neil Gaiman's 'American Gods ' & 'Neverwhere'. Books by Stephen King (Green Mile?): which is mainly because the writing style is easy and breezy. No one does speedy books for me like Stephen King. I've never read a Victor LaValle book before, though I've been aware of his books. In fact, 'Big Machine' has been sitting on my monstrous to-be-read shelves for a while. I can't wait to read it even more now that I've read 'The Devil in Silver'. There is one thing that makes me a huge LaValle fan. My favorite part of 'The Devil in Silver', that I wanted to save as the last thing in my review, because I'm not sure how many other people will love it as much as I do or even understand it: a character in the book called Heatmiser. That should be all I should have to mention for the people this will be relevant to (probably mainly music fans) to get a hint. I don't want to ruin it anymore than that! The characters have to be there for each other, for support to defeat their mental illnesses, the psychiatric system... and the devil. One of my favorite books of the year!
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