- Published: 2009
- Number of pages: 388 pages
- Format: Epub
- File Size: 0.53 MB
- Authors: Thomas Harris
A serial murderer known only by a grotesquely apt nickname–Buffalo Bill–is stalking women. He has a purpose, but no one can fathom it, for the bodies are discovered in different states. Clarice Starling, a young trainee at the FBI Academy, is surprised to be summoned by Jack Crawford, chief of the Bureau’s Behavioral Science section. Her assignment: to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter–Hannibal the Cannibal–who is kept under close watch in the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane.
Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist with a grisly history, unusual tastes, and an intense curiosity about the darker corners of the mind. His intimate understanding of the killer and of Clarice herself form the core of Thomas Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs–and ingenious, masterfully written book and an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.
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⭐ While I’ve seen – and loved – the film, I’d never read the book, and while the film remained quite true to the original, this has proven to be a genuinely wonderful read. I picked it up thanks to Coyne’s book “The Story Grid,” which uses Silence of the Lambs as an example of creating a story grid, and to demonstrate hallmarks of excellent fiction, and I must say, Harris does not disappoint.What many don’t realize is that all good story follows form, and when a good writer breaks form, they do it with intention. I myself initially railed against the idea of studying story structure, fearing this would lead to formulaic writing, however, there is a big difference between form and formula. Form creates the armature around which a work is shaped; anyone who understands the structure of poetry can attest to this. Coyne demonstrates, through the example of Silence of the Lambs, how Harris followed good story form – but in genuinely fresh ways. And that? Is the difference between an artist and a hack.Such an excellent read, both for pure enjoyment and for studying writing craftsmanship, if you’re so inclined.
⭐ I can vividly the first time I read this book – over 30 years ago. It’s hard to believe that much time has passed and it’s just goes to show you that a masterpiece of a novel stands up to the test of time.Clarice Starling is at the FBI Academy, testing to be an Agent. She wants to become part of the Behavioral Science section that deals with serial murders and murderers.Section Chief Jack Crawford whisks her out of classes to interview a notorious serial killer – Hannibal Lecter, who is in a hospital for the criminally insane – wanting to see if Lecter will consent to talk to her. Crawford wants Lecter’s expertise, both as a psychiatrist and as a serial killer to help track down another serial killer active right then – Buffalo Bill.At this point in time it’s difficult for me to read the book without merging it with one of the great movies – based on this book. One of the best movies EVER. It swept the Oscars in 1991 – Best Picture, Best Actress for Jodie Foster, Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. The casting for the whole movie was spot on.So when I re-read the book, the movie played in my head at the same time. This is one of the scariest books ever and one of the scariest movies.So, if you haven’t read this and seen the movie, you are missing out. But be prepared for mind pictures that stick around for a long time.Thomas Harris hasn’t been one of the most prolific authors out there but what he’s written has been either great or exceptional. I notice that he has another novel coming out in May 2019. It’s another standalone book – CARI MORA – like his first book, BLACK SUNDAY, is.
⭐ The media could not be loaded. In 60 seconds, find out whether “The Silence of the Lambs” by Thomas Harris is a book for you.
⭐ As an avid reader, there are few occasions when I prefer a movie over the book but this is one of those occasions. I didn’t find the book and writing style to be as captivating and frequently found myself putting this down and doing something else. The background information we’re given on Clarice is spread throughout the book, making it hard to connect with her character.My main gripe is the stereotyping and description of the victims. Let’s start with the stereotyping. Clarice’s roommate, Ardelia Mapp, is a black woman who mentions the projects she lives in. The character from the funeral home (I forget his name) speaks as if he has no formal education. I get that this was written in 1988 but I found this distracting.As for the description of the victims. One is described as “heavyset”, “roomy” and “large” but then we learn she is 5’6, 145 pounds. I’m not sure where 145 pounds qualifies as heavyset. Not only that, but I felt like I was reading a book by a kid who had just learned the definition of the word fat. In one chapter, Harris is talking about a victim being a “fat girl” that shops at “fat stores” for “fat pants”; and did he mention she was fat?This is one instance where I say skip the book and watch the movie. It will make for a more enjoyable experience.
⭐️Hello Clarice. I have no plans to call on you, Clarice. The world’s more interesting with you in it. So you take care now to extend me the same courtesy. Clarice Starling is a top student at the FBI’s training academy. Agent Jack Crawford wants Clarice to interview Dr. Hannibal Lecter, a brilliant psychiatrist & violent psychopath, serving a life sentence behind bars for multiple murders & you guessed it… cannibalism. Crawford believes that Lecter may have insight into a case involving the murder of several women. When a well to-do’s daughter is kidnapped, Starling is believed to be just the FBI agent for the job. As a young woman she may be the perfect person to convince Lecter to help them better understand the unsub before it’s too late for another young girl. This is one of the great classic book & movie combos for a reason- it’s creepy AF! Two vicious murderers- one behind bars you so desperately want insight from, one on the loose you’re desperate to stop, & one kick ass fearless female who will have you silent as a lamb as she solves her case & makes a ‘killer’ new friend.I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner!
⭐ It truly becomes obvious, as this marvelous book expands the reader’s experience well beyond that of the equally marvelous, but necessarily limiting movie, that the literary genius of Thomas Harris is fully on display here. Add to that the fact that this work was written a full three years prior to that blockbuster movie, then the reader can truly begin to detect and savor the nuances not captured in the film. And it is indeed these subtleties that make this book so much more compelling and so much more fulfilling than the movie…were it moved at a lightning pace at times, requiring a comprehension level beyond many viewers, the book is exemplary in that it explains and allows time for comprehension, things that most movies that are derived from great books simply do not have the time to do. And it is most important for a book of this depth…both of our protagonists are deep intellectuals, individuals that require a fair amount of literary development, all of which is captured resolutely here by Mr. Harris. Verily, the film does an admirable job portraying these characters, Clarice Starling and Hannibal Lecter, but comes nowhere close to the deep, robust personalities described here in the book and it is this component that markedly stands out and makes this work so much better than the movie.And so as we begin, the psychotic killer Hannibal Lecter, an otherwise brilliant psychiatrist, is being sought for insight and possible assistance into the current serial killing case of one “Buffalo Bill.” A sadistic creature himself, Buffalo Bill has been randomly abducting late teen to early twenties women, horribly skinning them and dropping them into various rivers and waterways across the country, again all at seemingly random times and locations. Lecter, for his part, hasn’t spoken to authorities since his capture for murdering and cannibalizing patients of his psychiatric practice, but FBI Detective Jack Crawford believes that trainee Clarice Starling, a young, attractive woman who possesses an amazing intellect of her own, can somehow get through to him. Under the guise of soliciting his support for a personality profile questionnaire, she’s sent in to interface with him…having the immediate affect that Crawford sought, Starling is able to engage Lecter and an instant rapport is established. Harris is brilliant here with Lecter’s and Starling’s intellectual dialogue exchange, one that continues throughout the narrative.Lecter is, of course, far too intelligent to give too much away but does give enough to Clarice to start her own fabulous mind working…and this, to me, is the ultimate draw of this book. Harris is able to weave an amazingly tantalizing tale while maintaining a strict literary component…I’ve not read any work of this genre that actually comes close to this combination. Harris exudes pure genius here and I’ll challenge any serious reader to put this work down after they’ve really gotten into it.Without giving too much away, Starling and the FBI are, of course, the heroes in the end and Lecter, well, let’s just say that Lecter lives to see another day. The ending, as you’d imagine, is different from the movie, but brilliant all the same, as befits a novel of this caliber. Needless to say, this is a must-read and a certain top-ten of all time…Thomas Harris has certainly penned a classic here and you’d be foolish to not include this on your list of desert island books.
⭐ I’ve read this book like 3 times when I was a teenager, but apart from the main plot I only remembered that I loved it very much. I think I didn’t even know at that time that this was the part of a series.Now though I intend to read the whole series in the “correct” order so after finishing Red Dragon, I re-read Silence of the Lambs as well.Even though some memories came back during reading it was still a very exciting and enjoyable experience. Thriller and horror and not my main go-to genre, but I think Hannibal Lecter is one of the best villains of all time.I totally recommend it to anyone, even if not having read Red Dragon. So far, this is the best part of the series for me.
⭐ After Red Dragon, I couldn’t wait to delve into the book that is more well known because of it’s movie (“Hello Clarice”), even if it wasn’t Chianti that was mentioned. Lecter is a formidable, intriguing character, and even though he’s never the main character of these books (so far), he adds a lot to them.Clarice is a trainee who’s been chosen to interview Lecter. They’re hoping that her being a fresh face will make him more inclined to talk. Especially since there’s another serial killer on the loose. One that seems to like skinning people, and he’s going faster with his victims. But Lecter never does anything without a price.By far Lecter is the most interesting character in the book. How would he not be? Smart serial killer with a taste for human flesh; likes playing games with people. Takes an odd interest in someone including their deepest stories. He’s made to be intriguing. Clarice is good too though; she balances the line between trying to be a strong woman in her field and not taking guff, but still being smart enough to maneuver successfully in her world. As for the main antagonist; he’s a strange one and certainly menacing. The scenes with him are very suspenseful.The whole premise is a creepy one. As it should be with a serial killer on the loose. And relying on another serial killer for help. Harris writes in a way that even though you’ve seen the movie (if you have) you’re still wondering what’s going to happen next or how a character is going to react. I found myself racing through pages trying to keep up with the excitement and pace. It was first published in 88′ and the book reflects racism, misogyny, touches on transgender, and other topics in a way that isn’t as sensitive as it could be. Overall; the book was interesting, flowed well, and kept you guessing. I’ll definitely be checking out the next in the series.Review by M. Reynard 2020
⭐ Mr. Harris’ skill at writing was really rolling along quite well by the time he wrote “Lambs.” He was proficient at keeping this reader’s attention, and I suspect many others also. A character such as Lecter deserved further exploration and this is what readers wanted!I was pleasantly surprised to note Hollywood produced at least one adaptation that accurately reflected an author’s vision when they produced the film.There were a few small sections from the novel I would liked to have seen in the film, but I’m sure they convinced themselves why they were excised.’Twas a shame, really as Mr. Harris’ novel is a damn sight better than any film could be. Most books far surpass adaptation in any form, as this one has.Buy this and have fun reading it – it will surprise and reward you for having done so.Through the intervening years between “Red Dragon, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal” and “Hannibal Rising,” I kept hoping we would see Mr. Harris write about Lecter’s ADULT life. Such is not the case, as May of2019 will bring with it the release of a new novel by Thomas Harris, purportedly having nothing to do with Mr. Lecter.Aw, well – one can only dream . . .
⭐ Sure, most of us have seen the movie version. I don’t know why it took me so long to actually pick up the book and read it. I’d read Red Dragon years ago and just got lazy…and maybe just a little busy with all the other books I decided I just had to read…so I just never got around to The Silence of the Lambs. I’m glad I finally decided to sit down and give it a go.It’s hard to get the image of Sir Anthony Hopkins out of your head when reading, but it didn’t distract or detract me from the story. It plays out much the same as the movie but it is tighter and paced well. The characters are all well drawn and unlike a lot of thrillers in this genre, you actually find yourself rooting for Dr. Lecter…or at least I did! Granted I still wouldn’t like to be invited to one of his dinner parties!If you’ve never seen the movie, definitely start with the books. If you’ve already seen the movies, what are you waiting for?
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