The silence of the lambs
I have read the horror book 'The Silence of the Lambs'.
The author, Thomas Harries started his career reviewing crime novels while working as a reporter in New York. He made his debut in 1975 and has since become a best-selling author worldwide, primarily through the books on the refined psychopath Hannibal Lecter. Silence of the Lambs is the second, and most famous book in the series, not the least thanks to the acclaimed 1991 film, with Jodie Foster as Clarice Starling and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter.
The Silence of the Lambs is an American crime thriller/horror book/novel from 1988 by Thomas Harris. The main roles are the serial killer 'Buffalo Bill' who kidnaps, kills, and skins young women while the police are falling. A young FBI aspirant is sent to the detained and extremely dangerous psychopathic serial killer and psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter for help with the case. When 'Buffalo Bill kidnaps another victim, a senator's daughter, the hunt for him intensifies. It will be a battle against the clock, and the only one who seems to be able to help Clarice find the young woman is Doctor Hannibal Lecter.
It takes place in the present day in the United States. It seems to be autumn considering the gloomy weather, also known as the cannibal. He is known for killing nine people and then eating them, hence the nickname. Hannibal Lecter has refused to talk to anyone, but with Clarice, he starts talking. The story is that it is a mass murderer who is on the move. He kills big women and skins them. He's called Buffalo Bill. It turns out that Hannibal Lecter knows a lot about this mass murderer, and he helps Clarice to settle the case on the condition that she must tell some of her innermost secrets for every piece of advice she receives. Lecter helps her a lot and finally, after a hard hunt, Clarice succeeds in getting hold of Buffalo Bill. She fails in arresting him but must shoot him in self-defense. The book ends happily with Clarice becoming a full-fledged FBI agent.
There are some difficulties in interpreting who the protagonist is because you have to see the entire book from the perspective of three different people. However, understand that the main character is Clarice Starling because she must follow her most and find out what she thinks and thinks. It is divided so that you follow the different people in different chapters. Without any special pattern.
About Clarice, you get the idea that she is a very sharp young girl. She has had a difficult childhood, and it reflects a little on her behavior. She also seems to be quite easy to read people, so understands a little what they think. The author paints a lot with the words when he explains how Clarice sees people. For example: 'Normally, Crawford looked like a buzzing, middle-aged engineer who could have passed college by playing baseball - a powerful stopper.' Clarice just thinks of looking at Jack Crawford. Clarice is also very brave, which may also be due to her childhood. There her father died when she was a child, and she escaped from her foster parents and ended up in an orphanage. There is not much that scares her.
Hannibal Lecter is probably the most interesting person in the book. He is very sharp and intelligent. Not at all as you imagine a mass murderer. He is a fully trained psychologist and a very good one. He, if any, paints very much with the words, and uses both metaphors and parables. Here's how he describes Clarice when they meet for the first time: 'You look like a lantis. A well-washed tense Lantis with poor taste. Your eyes are like cheap moonstones - they shine when you succeed in performing an answer. '
But he is also a cold-blooded murderer who, quite frankly, eats people. In a sick but still comical way, you get to know that he does not deny it. Here's how: 'A statistician tried to quantify me once. I ate up his liver with some prayers and a great Amarone. '
Buffalo Bill, or Jame Gumb as he is actually called, is a psychologically disturbed middle-aged man who kills big women and then skins them. For a very sick purpose. It is so that he wants to be a woman, but he has been rejected from sex exchange clinics. So, he thinks of a sewing suit of women's skin. He looks at the women he captures as an object. Here's how he describes what he sees when he looks down into the dungeon where he keeps a kidnapped woman: 'The material is on one side, crawled like a shrimp.' He, therefore, calls women he kidnaps for the material.
What does Thomas Harris use for language when writing?
Something that is very common for horror books is that you describe the environments very carefully. May is to get readers to feel as if they were in that place, which makes it much nicer. Thomas Harris does well with that. Here is an example of an environmental description: 'Feathers floated on the thick brown water, curly feathers blown down from the bird cages and brought with the wind that crashed the river's surface.'
I remember that I almost got cold when I read it, I think that very sentence creates a very weird picture of a watercourse. For a horror book, it is also important to personalize things, because it makes the text more vivid and more eerie. For example: 'The darkness comes stealthily, it penetrates behind her eyelids.'
Harris is also good at describing emotions in people. As you have seen in the examples above, he uses quite a lot of metaphors and parables. He also uses them when he is to describe emotions, in a very skilful way. For example: 'Starling suddenly felt empty, as if she had given blood.'
The whole book is structured so that the author tells, but you obviously find out what the people in it are thinking about, at least Clarice, Hannibal, and Buffalo Bill. An interesting thing that Thomas Harris does is that he finishes most chapters with something, a little sense or less event that makes one really want to continue reading. E.g.: 'Tomorrow afternoon he can do it or tomorrow night. Very last in the morning. Soon.'
With Crawford and Lecter as opposites and mentors, she is abruptly thrown into the dark reality around a genuine murder case and soon becomes a key person in pursuit of Bill. Bill, on the other hand, has just kidnapped the daughter of a senator, and many will be involved in the increasingly political game of Lecter and his possible knowledge. While the time is slowly flowing out for the senator's daughter - Bill is usually murdering his victims after a few days of imprisonment - Clarice tries to sneak out what the playful and deadly doctor knows and does not know, while the perverted psychologist Chilton tries to do the same, and, of course, thereby complicates the work. It's about what happens in the world's perhaps best thriller.
'The Silence of the Lamps' contains some unpleasant scenes. What disturbed or fascinated many especially when the film was new was that some of these scenes were also almost 'beautiful'. If you have seen a lot of horror movies, you are of course not surprised at how there can be an almost abstract picture poetry in the cruel and bloody, but when you, as here, step over all genres and do something that resembles a mainstream movie with that attitude, many people of course lift eyebrows. The film's perhaps greatest achievement, however, is how to ultimately remember the dialogues and the plot, not the horror scenarios.
The most frightening thing about both the film and the book is probably that you, consciously or not, have more respect and sympathy for Lecter than for Jame Gumb. him a kind of mix of James Bond and Dracula and something of an instant cult figure. Does the figure really deserve any respect? With that intellect, he could have done great deeds in medical science or perhaps literature. Instead, he eats people. Isn't that good or selfish? Something to ponder over if you have a desire. Anyway. Good movie. There are no perfect movies, I think, but some come close.
Overall, I think this was a very good book. You get to know the characters that are in the action better than in the film. Thomas Harris demonstrates knowledge of psychology, and how the FBI and police work. It goes fast to read, I think this is because you always want to read on, but it is quite easy to read as well. One thing I was thinking of was that the genre in this book could well have been crime drama. But there are some elements that make it become a horror book. I don't think the book raises any major issues of life. Hopefully, men who want to become women do not get to sew a suit of women's skin when they read the book. But you still get a little thinker when you read the book.