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Hannibal Lecter #2

The Silence of the Lambs

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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 "The Silence of the Lambs"—an ingenious, masterfully written book and an unforgettable classic of suspense fiction.

421 pages, Paperback

First published July 1, 1988

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About the author

Thomas Harris

36 books7,105 followers
Librarian Note:
There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Thomas Harris began his writing career covering crime in the United States and Mexico, and was a reporter and editor for the Associated Press in New York City. His first novel, Black Sunday, was printed in 1975, followed by Red Dragon in 1981, The Silence of the Lambs in 1988, Hannibal in 1999, and Hannibal Rising in 2006.

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Profile Image for Mort.
674 reviews1,349 followers
October 22, 2018
Many years from now, historians will look back on this story and wonder why it was so important. And believe me, my friends, important it was. Today, most thrillers and police procedurals gets measured against it.
For this review, I will refer to TSOTL as the story, because I'm going to talk about the book, movie, facts, fiction and some of my own opinions.

TSOTL was the second Dr. Hannibal Lector story. It was also the second movie adaptation - wait just a damn moment, you might be saying to me, Red Dragon was the first book but it was made after the TSOTL movie was so successful...
However, there was an attempt at a screen adaptation of Red Dragon a few years before TSOTL, called MANHUNTER. It was directed by Michael Mann. To the best of my knowledge, it was a flop at the box office.

There are a few things TSOTL had going for it that counted in its favor. By all means, Thomas Harris is a brilliant writer - if you've read any of the books you will know this. But most movie freaks and geeks will agree with me that the story is probably one of the best adaptations from book to screen ever.
Then you look at the cast - Jody Foster managed to play a vulnerable yet strong female (IMPORTANT) lead. You know she is intelligent, yet she knows that she has no chance against the superior intellect of Dr. Hannibal Lector. In comes Anthony Hopkins, whose portrayal of the psychopathic genius is so convincing, it catapults him to one of the biggest super villains of all time, yet he is so charming that the audience can't help but like him.
And, of course, Buffalo Bill is played by Ted Levine, who is utterly convincing, even if you've seen him as the cop in MONK.
With a strong cast and story, this movie became an unlikely contender at the Academy Awards. And they won a few!

Right, lets take a step back, to the research phase of this story.
Thomas Harris, in the early 80's, were doing research and was fortunate enough to get involved with criminal profiling, which at that time had been an unproven and highly speculative science. It was during the time when they were on the trail of one Ted Bundy. If you know a bit about this famous serial killer, you will probably know that he used to fake injuries by wearing a cast and asking victims for their help - Do you remember how Buffalo Bill got that girl in the back of the van?
And while Bundy was incarcerated on death row, he was willing to help the police do a profile on another serial killer of the time, The Green River Killer. I believe Bundy told them not to remove a body when they discover it, because the killer will go back to his treasure - something that was later confirmed to have happened. Remember that agent Sterling asked Dr. Lector for his help?
And then there was the killer Ed Gein, many decades before, who robbed graves and ultimately killed people to make himself a female skin, which was apparently hard to sow without tearing. Need I explain this one?

The fact of the matter is, while some things may have seemed preposterous to us in the early eighties, like they could only happen in the movies, there were some truly messed up people out there who were doing some truly messed up things - wow, it's been a while since I've kept a sentence PG like that...I will accept your applause humbly.

Also, there was and, unfortunately, still are some stereo types about women in the FBI. Harris took the opportunity to make a statement, maybe very subtly, but still very important, about power vs. emotion. At no time does this story feel like a Hollywood blockbuster, where the star is cocky and always has a way out of a sticky situation, where it's all guns and fire and explosions, etc. No, this story was meant to cut close to home, to show the possibilities, for we are all vulnerable in this world. Agent Clarice is scared, she fears for her life, she doesn't know if she will survive, but she fights the big, bad (Goliath) killer. And she wins.

This story is also important from a psychological point of view. Whatever your feelings about profiling may be, they have discovered so much and found impossible connections through their research, and we will never know how many lives it has saved. It's a kind of Paying-it-forward thing: By doing what they do, they prevent things that may have been inevitable in a different world.
I once saw something (I can't remember exactly where) about some research they were doing on inmates. They took brain scans of a number of them, and noted that those who were certified as psychopathic, had an underdeveloped area in a certain part of their brains. If I can remember correctly, it had something to do with the mother producing too much serotonin during pregnancy, or some such scientific thing.

How is this helpful, you may ask?
Well, this is my personal opinion, so if it offends you, stop reading:
Casey Anthony...
Is she a psychopath who got away with murder?
Yes, when I look at the facts of the case, and the things her attorney's did to get her free, I'm sickened to think the jurors couldn't believe a mother would do that to her child. Nobody LIKES to believe it, but I wish I could have seen a brain scan of her compared to those other psychopaths. I wish there was a psychologist who could have explained it to them.

But enough about that.

This book is, was and always will be important, because it brought certain realities home to the world we find ourselves in.
If you haven't read it - but managed to get through this long review - what's the matter with you?

But I am not trying to convince anybody of my point of view, so feel free to disagree.

Profile Image for Kat.
270 reviews80k followers
October 1, 2019
an odd case in which the book is not better than the movie. in fact, it is much worse.
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews35 followers
August 28, 2021
‎The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2), Thomas Harris

The Silence of the Lambs is a novel by Thomas Harris. First published in 1988, it is the sequel to Harris' 1981 novel Red Dragon.

Both novels feature the cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, this time pitted against FBI Special Agent Clarice Starling. Its film adaptation directed by Jonathan Demme was released in 1991 to box office success and critical acclaim.

Clarice Starling, a young FBI trainee, is asked to carry out an errand by Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI division that draws up psychological profiles of serial killers.

Starling is to present a questionnaire to the brilliant forensic psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer, Hannibal Lecter.

Lecter is serving nine consecutive life sentences in a Maryland mental institution for a series of murders. ...

نخست فیلم را دیده ام سپس کتاب را خوانده ام؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: سال 1993میلادی

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجمها: اصغر اندرودی، مجتبی مینائی؛ مشخصات نشر تهران، چاپ نخست، 1371، در 492ص، چاپ های بعدی، نشر خاتون، 1373، پارسیان، 1374، نشر اوحدی، چاپ هشتم سال 1377، شابک9646376339؛ نشر دایره، 1379، شابک9646839215؛ چاپ سیزدهم 1395؛ شابک 9789646839212؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 20م

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجم: علیرضا انصاری، نشر چکاوک، 1390، در 384ص؛ شابک 9789648957259؛ چاپ دوم 1392؛

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجم: محمود اشرفی؛ تهران، لک لک، 1371؛ در 506ص؛ چاپ دوم 1372؛

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجم: فرزانه پورفرزین؛ تبریز، آناس، 1399؛ در 416ص؛ شابک 9786227095340؛ چاپ دیگر تبریز، اختر، 1398، در 416ص؛ شابک 9786004862332؛

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجم: نیلوفر قندیلی؛ تهران، افق بی پایان؛ 1398؛ در 527ص؛ شابک 9786008120506؛

عنوان: سکوت بره ها؛ اثر: توماس (تامس) هریس؛ مترجم: نیلوفر اسکندری فرد؛ تهران، نیک فرجام، 1399؛ در 343ص؛ شابک9786222580155؛

خانم «کلاریس استارلینگ (جودی فاستر)»، توسط «جک کرافورد (اسکات گلن)» از آکادمی آموزشی اف‌.بی‌.آی.، در «کوانتیکوو ویرجینیا» برگزیده می‌شود تا «کرافورد» به او مأموریت دهد، که با «هانیبال لکتر (آنتونی هاپکینز)»، که یک روانشناس و قاتل زنجیره‌ ای است، گفتگو نماید، چرا که باور دارد، که «لکتر» ممکن است، بتواند به آنها در پیدا کردن «بیل بوفالو (قاتلی زنجیره‌ ای که پوست قربانیانش را از تنشان می‌کـَنـَد)» یاری نماید؛ «استارلینگ» به بیمارستان روانی، در «بالتیمور» می‌رود، و در آنجا دکتر «فردریک چیلتون (آنتونی هیلد)» ایشان را به سلول دکتر «لکتر» راهنمایی می‌کند؛ نخست دکتر «لکتر» آرام است، اما به ناگهان عصبانی می‌شود، چرا که «استارلینگ» کوشش میکند از او، اطلاعات بیرون بکشد؛ در حالیکه «استارلینگ»، با ترس، در حال ترک سلول است، یکی از بیماران، به «کلاریس» توهین بدی می‌کند، که «لکتر» این عمل را بسیار زشت می‌پندارد، و «استارلینگ» را صدا می‌کند، که برگردد، تا به او بگوید که به دنبال یکی از بیماران سابقش بگردد؛ آن راهنمایی، «استارلینگ» را به ��ک زیرزمین سوق می‌دهد، که در آنجا جسد یکی از بیماران پیشین «لکتر» را پیدا می‌کند؛ «استارلینگ» به پیش «لکتر» برمی‌گردد، و «لکتر» به او می‌گوید، که این جسد به «بیل بوفالو» مرتبط است؛ «استارلینگ»، به «لکتر» پیشنهاد می‌دهد، در صورتیکه به او در این زمینه یاری کند، از کلینیک دکتر «چیلتون» به جایی دیگری میتواند منتقل شود؛ و ....؛

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 15/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 05/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for daph pink ♡ .
948 reviews2,713 followers
June 26, 2022
I have a love hate sort of relationship with this book.

At times I marvel at the intelligence and wittiness of Hannibal and other times I can't get my mind past through the things like body shaming , status of women which is highly exploited in this book! I didn't liked the movie at all because of all those details they missed and to be honest we can't review this book without the honorable mention of movie!

We will start with what I don't like then moving on with what I like so that we can end on positive note!

Body shamming :- for most of the people who have read the book , will understand what I am trying to say but for those who haven't , the killer choose girls with thick body type and they are constantly called by slang in the book which I sort of hated because for someone like me who have been body shammed for all her teen life it was pretty triggering!

Sexism :- Clarice starling , the young beautiful FBI trainee , yes there is a need to mention she was beautiful because how every time she meets a man he falls in love with her. She was being objectified throughout the book and never once author fails to tell the readers that she is a WOMAN !

Writing :- the writing style was slightly boring at times to be fair, by the time I finished reading it I still wanted more , more answers and conversation( I loved the constant bickering between Hannibal and Clarice).

Moving on with things I like about the book!

Character development :-

'A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone

This shit is iconic and one who said it is even more iconic, yes my friends we are talking about HANNIBAL 'THE CANNIBAL' LECTER ! One of the most iconic characters in history of literature .He may be the scariest fuck out there (certainly scarier than the supposed monster of the book, Buffalo Bill), but he just oozes style and knowledge.

And not to forget Clarice Starling , I really really like her character ( obviously not more than Hannibal) and I would have loved her more if author constantly didn't reminded us that she is beautiful and a Woman !

Better than movie :- the movie remake ved several crucial scenes, which I think hampered with the story a lot.

There is only one thing I liked about the movie ie the ending , it was one of my fav endings I really really liked it !

You need not to read the books in order you can certainly read it before the first one but I would suggest to read the first one before because of some characters which are introduced in previous book and played important role in this one too.

Recommended to everyone because it's still one of the most iconic and breathtaking book to be ever written!
Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79k followers
April 10, 2020

"Be very careful with Hannibal Lector. Dr. Chilton, the head of the mental hospital, will go over the physical procedure you use to deal with him. Don't deviate from it. Do not deviate from it one iota for any reason... We both know you have to back-and-forth a little in interviews, but you tell him no specifics about yourself. You don't want any of your personal facts in his head."


Bet you thought I was never going to write this review, huh? ;) Well, it turns out I just needed a good long pause to toss around my thoughts before attempting to wrangle them on paper. There's a lot of pressure diving into a book that has been deemed a modern classic, and you never know what side of the spectrum you'll fall on once you've experienced such, but I'm pleased that overall, this was a really enjoyable experience for me. While I've seen the movie over the years more times than I can count, somehow it didn't ruin my experience or opinion of the book. Below, there will be quite a few spoilers and discussion pertaining to specific plot points and comparisons from the book-to-film adaptation, so if you haven't read the book or seen the movie and desire to know no specifics, please stop here.


I'm going to start with all the things that I loved. Obviously, the book is way better than the movie, due to the amount of detail and characterization that is lost in translation when you must condense a 400+ page novel into a 2 hour film production. The characters are richly developed, flawed, and their decision making process and solving of the cases in general are quite progressive considering this book was published in the 1980s. The Silence of the Lambs is a wonderful example of how, we can see glimpses of the villain throughout the book, and still garner the compulsive pacing of a whodunnit.


One thing that felt odd to me was reconciling the fact that, for the time this book was published, the story is so progressive in some aspects and terribly disappointing in others. If you've seen the movie, then you probably are aware of how, at best, the movie is borderline transphobic, and this is due to the fact that they left out some crucial scenes from the book. While the movie implies maybe once or twice that Jame Gumb is not really transgender, they don't do a full job of explaining the why or how behind his choices; in fact, the movie leaves out his backstory entirely, as well as a scene that was filmed but cut from the final production portraying the investigation into the transgender clinic. In the book, it is clearly shown how transgender people are a peaceful group, and how our villain is someone who IS NOT transgender, and was rejected for reassignment surgery based on multiple red flags that occurred during the initial application. Also, the doctor that the FBI initially tries to coerce into giving up personal information regarding his patients not only defends his patients, but goes on the offensive to protect the minority group. I really loved how the book handled this SO much better than the movie.

The one thing that REALLY bugged me though, is how you can have a novel written in the '80s that was LGBT forward, but unrealistically fat shaming women from start to finish. I figured I'll be ripped a new one for this and deemed a sensitive snowflake, so I decided to mark specific passages for reference. One particular example is in chapter 34, where Starling is poking around in Catherine's apartment after she's been abducted. On page 242 (in my copy), there's an internal monologue where Clarice is flipping through her closet, and notes that at almost 6 ft tall, Catherine has sets of clothes in 2 sizes-large and "crisis fat". It's stated that the first set are when she is 145lbs and the second at 165lbs. For reference, I have a friend who is 6ft tall and was constantly asked if she was anorexic, and she weighed 185lbs. I understand that point is that Buffalo Bill is kidnapping full figured women to fit his long term outcome, but I had a hard time stomaching that we are told somewhere between 15-20 times throughout the book how OMG THESE GIRLS ARE SO FAT SO FAT SO FAT UGH DISGUSTING DON'T THEY HAVE ANY SELF RESPECT AGAIN SO FAT, and yet, according to the specific height and weight details we're given, they are medically and even socially NOT FAT. We even get a few inner monologues where Catherine knows her full figured body is attractive, but we're immediately reminded afterwards to NOT FORGET SHE'S FAT AND UGH SO GROSS!!!! *deep breath* Alright, I'm done beating that to death.

Lastly, aside from Jack Crawford's character, I felt the movie was mostly cast well, with the best being Ted Levine as Buffalo Bill. Jody Foster as Clarice was a bit of stretch for me, as the Clarice in the book isn't quite the pushover we see on screen, but still not a bad choice. I can wholly see why this is the book most refer to that initiated the mainstream craze for forensic crime scene novels, as it is a really well written procedural, and manages to feel realistic but not lose the page turning quality of suspense that it carries. Overall, I'm so glad I read this one and look forward to circling back around to Red Dragon.
Profile Image for Orsodimondo.
2,195 reviews1,816 followers
January 9, 2023

Sono approdato al libro dopo aver visto il film. E per quanto il romanzo funzioni, non sia un capolavoro, ma è efficace e avvincente, il film sovrasta nettamente il confronto: perché il film è invece magnifico, a suo modo, e nel suo genere, un autentico capolavoro.
E certo dopo – dopo libro e film – i serial killer hanno un altro spessore, sono diventati, per così dire, di casa. E probabilmente questa storia può essere considerata la madre di tutti i serial killer.

Ce n’è uno che sequestra ragazze e fa loro cose turpi. È soprannominato Buffalo Bill perché si diletta nell’attività più timidamente definita spellare, più brutalmente scuoiare. Per catturarlo, visto che è arrivato a rapire la figlia di un senatore, il dirigente dell’FBI (Scott Glenn nel film) sceglie una giovane recluta, Clarice Sterling (Jody Foster nel film) che ha mostrato abilità di profiler. L’idea è che Clarice si rivolga a un detenuto molto speciale, il dottor Lecter (Hannibal Lecter ha l’indimenticabile volto, e talento, di Anthony Hopkins), per farsi illuminare su Buffalo Bill: psicologia, modus operandi, dettagli, forse perfino informazioni dirette. Perché il dottor Lecter è un serial killer ormai celebre, e detenuto da tempo: nella prima storia della serie, Red Dragon – Il delitto della terza luna (anche questo magistralmente adattato sul grande schermo dal talento visionario di Michael Mann – titolo Manhunter – Frammenti di un omicidio), il detenuto dottor Lecter mette già in mostra la sua profonda conoscenza della mente e della brutalità umana fornendo indizi e aiuti al detective Will Graham, che tre anni prima lo ha catturato, nella caccia al serial killer soprannominato Lupo Mannaro (il killer preferisce invece farsi chiamare il Drago Rosso, in omaggio a un quadro di William Blake, “Il grande Drago Rosso e la donna vestita col sole”).

Per quanto Clarice sia giovane e all’apparenza inesperta riesce a far parlare il diabolico dottor Lecter che le fornisce indizi per catturare Buffalo Bill. Ma Lecter non concede nulla per nulla, le impone un do ut des: Clarice dovrà ricambiare ogni informazione su Buffalo Bill con racconti sulla sua vita, la sua famiglia, i genitori… In pratica, raccontare chi davvero è al più diabolico degli assassini.

Jonathan Demme, compianto poliedrico regista, capace di passare dalla commedia a questo sanguinolento thriller a un dramma umano sull’AIDS come Philadelphia a forse il mio film concerto preferito in assoluto (Stop Making Sense) vinse meritatamente l?oscar per il miglior regista proprio con questo film.

Ma io vorrei soffermarmi un attimo a riflettere su come un film più che notevole, per me e altri un capolavoro, mette in scena una serie di delitti le cui vittime sono sempre e ovviamente donne.
Per farlo prendo a prestito parole dal libro che sto leggendo proprio in questi giorni:
Nell’arte, la tortura e la morte di una bella donna o di una giovane donna o di entrambe è sempre raffigurato come qualcosa di erotico, di eccitante, di piacevole, così, nonostante l’insistenza dei poltici e dei media sul fatto che crimini e violenza sono casi limite, il desiderio trova consacrazione nei film di Alfred Hitchcock, Brian De Palma, David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, Lars von Trier, in un’infinità di film horror e di altri film e di romanzi, e poi nei videogame e nelle graphic novel dove la descrizione di assassinio fin nei particolari più raccapriccianti o il cadavere di una donna è un dispositivo narrativo standard e un prodotto estetico. L’annichilimento di lei è la realizzazione di lui. Per il pubblico a cui sono destinati, tutti questi prodotti sono evidentemente erotici, perché nella vita reale le donne continuano a essere uccise durante i crimini sessuali, e la paura della violenza, dello stupro, è anche la paura della morte violenta…
In alcuni casi i protagonisti maschi proteggono le donne, specialmente belle e giovani donne bianche, da altri uomini, e quella di protettore è una faccia del loro potere, ma quella di distruttore è sempre l’altra faccia e l’una o l’altra mettono il tuo destino di donna nelle loro mani. Proteggono ciò che hanno in potere di proteggere o distruggere, e a volte la trama racconta del dolore di lui per non essere stato in grado di proteggere, o della sua vendetta nei confronti di altri uomini, e altre volte è lui stesso a distruggere, e la storia comunque parla solo di lui.

Profile Image for Martine.
145 reviews691 followers
July 31, 2008
Call me a freak, but I have a bit of a crush on Hannibal Lecter. He may be the scariest fuck out there (certainly scarier than the supposed monster of the book, Buffalo Bill), but he just oozes style and knowledge. In fact, he has so much style and knowledge that he doesn't come off as a ridiculous prick when he says things like, 'A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone'* or 'Can you smell his sweat? That peculiar goatish odour is trans-3-methyl-2 hexenoic acid. Remember it, it's the smell of schizophrenia.' Quite the contrary -- he sounds cool saying these things. Sophisticated, even. In this and many other ways, Dr Lecter is so utterly fascinating that you'll still find yourself rooting for him after he has committed several heinous (but brilliant!) murders, hoping he'll stay out of the hands of the police and live out his life in freedom. Now that's quality writing for you.

As you can probably tell from the above, I like The Silence of the Lambs, which is to say the book on which the movie was based. Except for the fact that Harris makes Clarice rather stupid** and that the dialogue in the book is a bit too clever and masculine for its own good***, it's a solid and exciting will-they-find-him-in-time-to-save-the-girl story -- a page-turner if ever there was one. The characters aren't terribly easy to identify with, but that's all right, because for one thing, they're cool (had I mentioned that yet?), and for another, they all have a clearly defined quest. They don't necessarily have the same quest, but hey, that only serves to increase the tension.

In some regards the book is better than the film. Remember those stupid anagrams from the movie? They're not in the book (except for the bilirubin one, which I actually quite like). The book makes its connections in a much more logical, less what-the-fuck?-ish way. It also has a more realistic romance, though not necessarily a better one. On the down side, I think Thomas Harris must have kicked himself for not having come up with the closing line of the film ('I'm having an old friend for dinner') himself. In my opinion, it's the best closing line in cinematic history, unmatched by the ending of the book. Still, it's a satisfying read. Very satisfying. As satisfying as the movie, and that's saying a fair bit.


* Yes, that's what he says in the book. Not 'a nice Chianti'. I've been reliably informed by those in the know (I myself do not actually drink wine) that Amarone and Chianti are not in fact the same thing. 'Chianti' does sound better than 'Amarone' in this line, doesn't it?

** In the book, Dr Lecter tells Clarice in one of their first interviews that Billy has kidnapped large-chested Catherine Martin because 'he wants a vest with tits on it'. He then goes on to say in their next meeting that 'Billy is making a girl suit out of real girls'. And despite these incredibly obvious clues (which cannot be rude jokes on Lecter's part as he's far too sophisticated to make such rude jokes) it takes Clarice, who is supposed to be really intelligent, the entire rest of the book to figure out what it is that Billy wants from his victims. They wisely changed that in the movie, where Clarice doesn't have her entire quest spelled out for her right at the beginning.

*** I've never met any women who speak to each other the way Clarice and Ardelia do. Then again, I've never met any brilliant FBI trainees, so what do I know? Perhaps they do speak to each other like that at Quantico. I guess I'll never find out. (Anyone out there have FBI-trained friends? Anyone? Bueller?)
Profile Image for Ginger.
789 reviews373 followers
May 15, 2019
5 STARS!! Full review up.
This was fantastic!!

I went into The Silence of the Lambs hesitant that this book would not be as great as the movie, OR I wouldn't be able to get the movie characters out of my head.
You see, I’ve seen The Silence of the Lambs 3 to 4 times in my life and I know the plot too well. I've loved the movie since the first time I watched it!
The movie came out in 1991 but I didn't watch it until I was 17, in 1995. I'm glad I waited because the nightmares would have sucked at age 13!!
Ha, who am I kidding. I still had nightmares after seeing this movie for the 1st time!

Getting back to the book, I was shocked with how much I enjoyed it! The writing by Thomas Harris is well done along with more detail about the serial killer, Buffalo Bill and the women he killed. The case was more detailed, the characters were more fleshed out (heh, funny I would use that term! haha) and the ending was dynamite.

The character of Clarice Starling was great in this book! She’s more fierce and cunning then what Jodie Foster does with the character in the movie. Jodie Foster still does a damn fine job with this character but it’s hard to be exactly like a character in a book. You can’t see what she thinks or how she interprets the Buffalo Bill case and the prisoner, Hannibal Lecter.

Speaking of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, he’s a monster, sadistic, way too intelligent, and will scare the pants off you. Anthony Hopkins does such a great job with this character. Let’s just take a moment to appreciate how he took Thomas Harris’ creation and made Lecter unforgettable!

Besides the great characterization, the police procedural and research of serial killers that Harris does in this series is fantastic! You’ve got to realize that this is wrote in the 80’s and he likely has influenced the crime detective book genre more than anyone out there! Kudos Thomas Harris!!

If you have been living under a rock for the last 30 something years and have not seen this movie, go read the book first!! You won't be disappointed.
And if you love this movie and you're worried about not getting anything from the book, take it from me. I felt the same and I just gave this 5 stars!
Profile Image for Francesc.
459 reviews221 followers
February 20, 2022
Me ha gustado muchísimo. La trama es espectacularmente entretenida y los personajes bien construídos. Difiere un poco de la película, pero ambas son extraordinarias.
Teniendo en cuenta que es un libro largo, la acción se desarrolla en unos días. Me ha sorprendido por bien.
Un apunte: Lecter es el mejor defensor de la comida vegetariana.
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
June 26, 2011
CONTENT ANNOUNCEMENT: Out of respect for Thomas Harris’s superb novel, I have decided that no pictures of ANTHONY HOPKINS will appear in this review. Thank you for your understanding.

4.0 to 4.5 stars. Another one of those terrific situations where I saw the movie first (and loved it) and then eventually decided to read the book... and loved it too. Score!!! Now assuming that most people not suffering from the after-effects of severe head trauma know the basic plot concerning FBI trainee “Hello...Clariiiiiice” Starling, while trying to kibosh a Psychotic Vera Wang wannabe named Buffalo Bill, starts an unconventional relationship with extreme culinary expert Dr. Hannibalicious Lecter, I thought I would give you my take on the whole movie wins/book wins debate.

Please note that I am going to feel completely free to drop spoilers without warning from here on out so....recognize.


1. First, I thought the movie’s treatment of Starling’s time on the Sheep and Horse farm was much better, probably in large part due to Jodie Foster really nailing the angst factor as she describes trying to save a spring lamb from slaughter (in the book it was horses being slaughtered that she was tripping about). Here the movie wins and I can still close my eyes and here Foster/Starling saying “the lambs were screaming” and “it was cold, so cold.” She made that scene her chew toy and it is a wonderful example of taking more and condensing it into a more powerful less.

2. The End of the movie, Lecter stalking Dr. Chilton and ending his phone conversation with Starling by saying, “I’m going to have an old friend for dinner.” YUM!!! One of my favorite lines/ideas from the movie and I was very bitter that it did not have an analog in the book. The Booest of Hoos on that.

AND SURPRISINGLY...that is it for the movies clear superiority. Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the movie and think they did much EXCEPTIONALLY well. However, I was shocked in reading the book that most the best parts in the movie (including Lecter, which shocked me) were handled equally effectively in the book. Thus, where I think it was a tie or too close to call, I have decided not to put it in one camp or another. With that said....on to the book.


1. Need to start with Lector and this is a surprise because Sir Anthony made this role his like few people on movie history. However, I am not talking about what was in both the movie and the book as I think it is a push, to a slight edge to Mr. Hopkins. No, I am talking about the one AMAZING insight the book provides to the character. Namely, Lecter’s motivation is about “amusing himself.” This single thread running through the book makes Lecter a far darker, far more sinister character (which also explains why hollywood downplayed it to land Hopkins in the role). Walking away from the book, the reader has a much better sense of Lector as a conscience-lacking entity of pure evil, than we get from the movie. Kudos to Mr. Harris on that point.

2. As good as Scott Glenn is in the movie, his character found way too much time on the editing room floor and the book truly develops well. His scene with the head of John Hopkins university is one that truly should have found a way on screen as I thought it was perfect.

3. James Gumb (aka Buffalo Bill). As wonderfully icky as Ted Levine is in the movie, he comes across as just a nutso on screen with the naked “tuck” dance an the lotion commercials. Meanwhile, in lit land, Gumby is shown to be so....SAVAGE and calculating that all of the nutso stuff takes on a far more sinister aspect. I was deeply disturbed by the depiction of Gumb’s craft skills and the movie never hammered that home enough.


Overall, I was deeply impressed with both the movie and book, but the book really gets the gold star for being able to work with my love of the movie and still blow me away. In closing, if you have only seen the movie, you should read the book and if you have only read the book, you should see the movie as it is deeply respectful of the source material. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

P.S. I listened to the audio version read by Frank Muller and he was his usual perfection.

P.P.S. I was fairly insulted that the movie makers felt the need to change Amarone to Chianti (in the famous fava beans scene) presumably because they didn't think the "audience" would get it. OUCH!!
135 reviews141 followers
May 5, 2019

Loved the movie. Loved the book. The Kindle edition is slightly, tainted, with numbers, sporadically-interweaved into the text - which I assume, judging by the percentage I was currently on (when the numbers appeared) - is the actual page number. No biggie. Just a bit jarring, as my edition of the novel had location numbering at the bottom. Don't know why they do that - but, whatever.

I'm impressed by how close the movie is to the source material, just like Manhunter was to the Red Dragon book - including some of the dialogue being verbatim. I noticed one, glaring difference: when Starling first meets Lecter and is walking down the hallway to his cell; which is on the left in the film; the right in the book. I'm also impressed by each actors' performance, in their respective roles. Jodie Foster was interested in playing the part, after reading the novel. And George A. Romero (Feb 4th, 1940 - July 16th, 2017) had a cameo role, as an FBI Agent in Memphis (unaccredited). I'll have to keep an eye-out for that, next time I watch the film, which had 66 cast members, and took $272.7 million at the box office, on a $19 million budget.

Movie cast:

Jodie Foster (Clarice Starling).
Anthony Hopkins ('Hannibal the Cannibal,' Lecter)
Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill).
Scott Glenn (Jack Crawford).
Brooke Smith (Catherine Martin).
Anthony Heald (Frederick Chilton).
Kasi Lemmons (Ardelia Mapp)
Stuart Rudin (I.J. Miggs).
Maria Skorobogatov (young Clarice) - Masha.
Darla (Precious).
Chris McGinn (autopsy victim).

A young trainee FBI-agent, Clarice Starling, is pulled from training and given an assignment: to interview Hannibal Lecter, at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane. A questionnaire has been developed; which applies to all-known serial-murderers in modern times. They've tried to interview and examine all thirty-two known serial-killers that they have in custody: to build a database for psychological-profiling cases, unsolved. Most were willing to cooperate; except the one they want to speak to the most - who isn't cooperative. Lecter. Starling, sniffs an opportunity, and is glad of the chance - though Crawford doesn't expect Lecter to say anything.

When she gets to the hospital, Dr. Chilton (who isn't a real doctor) - explains the rules:

"Do not reach through the bars, do not touch the bars. You pass him nothing but soft paper. No pens, no pencils. He has his own felt-tipped pens some of the time. The paper you pass him must be free of staples, paper clips, or pins. Items come back through the sliding food carrier. No exceptions. Do not accept anything he attempts to hold out to you through the barrier. Do you understand me?"

I think he forgot to mention another rule: that you shouldn't stand-still outside a particular cell, for any amount of time; especially if the person in the cell is making groaning, sounds. Ah. The infamous flying missile scene, courtesy of Miggs. I think that was the most disturbing scene in the movie (and probably the book, too). Miggs' indiscretions. In the book, Lecter is polydactyl: he has six-fingers on his left hand.

On a more positive note: it's the catalyst for Lecter giving Starling a chance and sending her to seek-out: Raspail's car for her Valentines. Yep.If you want something from Lecter, you have to take one for the team.

Lecter thinks she's there to ask if he can help in the Buffalo Bill case - which he has an interest in. He says he's willing to help, if he gets something in return. Quid Pro Quo. He wants know more about Starling. She gives him something about herself, he'll give something in return. He wants to play a game - and the stakes are high, when the daughter of Sen. Ruth Martin is abducted, believed to have been taken by Buffalo Bill. Will she be saved in time? Or will the felon have her hide? Clarice has a few obstacles in her way, so it won't be easy.

I really enjoyed this novel. Disappointed I didn't read it, sooner. There's a lot of creepy/unsettling and intense scenes. I liked the conversations, between Lecter and Starling, as she tries to extract information from him. He's too smart to outwit, so she has to play-along. He's got nothing to lose.
Profile Image for Michael || TheNeverendingTBR.
479 reviews190 followers
July 17, 2022
'A census taker tried to quantify me once. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a big Amarone. Go back to school, little Starling.'

This one starts off with the FBI needing help from a imprisoned psychiatrist called Hannibal Lecter who committed at least seven cannibalistic murders, they need his insight in order to catch a serial killer called Buffalo Bill, who enjoys wearing the flayed skins of his victims.

Clarice Starling, a pretty FBI cadet is asked to visit Lecter and charm him into offering help.

My first time read of this and I've never seen the movie, shocking I know!

The plot and characters are awesome.

It’s one of the darkest and fascinating thrillers I’ve ever read.

Now to watch the adaptation....
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,265 followers
October 29, 2015

So, I read these books out of order. I started with Hannibal (which gives better background and fleshes out the character of Lecter much more than the mess that was Hannibal Rising), then read Red Dragon and finally this one. Can I just say that I love Clarice Starling? I just have such a deep respect and admiration for her (also, Jodie why didn't you come back for the sequel?? I mean, Moore was great but I don't like a break in continuity, nor do I like how they changed the ending of Hannibal where .

I was about 12 when I read these books and what really resonated with me, more than the tête-à-têtes, was the sheer intelligence of both Starling and Lecter. Both equally formidable characters , Clarice and Hannibal are some of the most interesting characters that I've ever read about. Please, dear writers, learn from them.
Profile Image for Fabian {Councillor}.
232 reviews488 followers
June 2, 2022
“I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice chianti."

(Or, "a big amarone" as in the novel.)
Thomas Harris's story of "The Silence of the Lambs" has always been a fascinating one for me, and I believe wholeheartedly that this is one of the most unique, most fascinating and most enthralling crime novels ever written (and rarely has any mystery/thriller been adapted to film so successfully). The 1991 film is one of my favorite films of all time, even though much of the praise must belong to Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins, both of whom committed dedicated and convincing performances to Jonathan Demme's adaptation.

It has been more than half a year since I finally read this novel, but I don't think anything has had a similar impact on me ever since finishing the book. In general, one of the biggest problems I have with crime novels is that it is so easy for them to become procedural, to feel as if they were written according to a guide on how to write a crime novel. I have a lot of trouble relating to many of these novels, and even if the mystery is intriguing and keeps you turning the pages, it often comes at a disadvantages as characters, especially investigating ones, are in constant danger of remaining too shallow, too detached for the reader to really care about what ultimately happens to them. In Thomas Harris' novel, however, we have Clarice Starling, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, Jack Crawford, Dr. Frederick Chilton, Buffalo Bill - all of them iconic and unforgettable characters in their own right. They become real persons between the binding holding together this book, and that's something many crime authors should always keep in mind while writing their novels, at least in my opinion.

Of course, it's hard to judge this book on its own. Stories surrounding Hannibal Lecter have been covered through five films (Manhunter, The Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising) and a very successful three-season TV series, and everyone has formed a different mindset about Hannibal. We may see him in the form of Brian Cox from Manhunter, Mads Mikkelsen from the TV series or Gaspard Ulliel from Hannibal Rising, but undoubtedly the man who shaped this character and made him the icon he is nowadays was Anthony Hopkins, so much that the American Film Institute even selected him as the Number One Villain of All Time. Reading a novel after seeing one or even several treatments of the source material by filmmakers has always been quite a challenge for me, as it generally became quite difficult to see the book in its own right without being overruled by images from the adaptations which have burned themselves into my mind, but in the case of Thomas Harris' novel, for me it just added to the pleasure of getting to know these characters and their unique fates.

You may have realized that I don't even know what to write about the book anymore, to an extent that I started rambling about the different actors who portrayed this iconic character. That's simply because it left me speechless, even now, quite a long time after watching the movie and the TV show and just a few months after reading the novel. There is no doubt I will read "Red Dragon" and "Hannibal" as well (they are already resting on my shelves): just as there is no doubt that I can only assure everyone who hasn't read this yet that "The Silence of the Lambs" is the crime/thriller/mystery novel you were waiting for.

Slightly updated this review on 2022/06/02. Have to say that it's a perfect holiday read for me thanks to its fast pacing and the interesting characters. You don't need to think about what you're reading too much, but there's still a lot of fascinating insight to be derived from the novel.
Profile Image for Alejandro.
1,142 reviews3,565 followers
April 1, 2018
One of my favorite books and film too!

This is the second novel in the "Hannibal Lecter" book series.


Back then, in 1991, I didn't know that Silence of the Lambs had been first a book, and even less that it was actually the second book in the literary series, but...

...I knew that the film adaptation became, in an instant, one of my all-time favorite films. A game changer indeed that swept away with the 5 most respected awards by the Academy (best film, best script, best director, best actor and best actress) that you can't diminish since this particular combination of these 5 Oscars, had been only accomplished three times in the history of the Oscars, It Happened One Night (1934) and One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), along with the said film.

A curious thing is that while Dr. Hannibal Lecter became the lead character of the book series generating adaptations of each book along with a TV series inspired in the said character...

...for me, my attachment to Silence of the Lambs was the young FBI trainee Clarice Starling, since she was a formidable character facing overwhelming challenges: dealing with disturbing interviews with the insidious Dr. Hannibal Lecter, an unwilling pawn of FBI Special Agent Jack Crawford, and having to face the insanely dangerous "Buffalo Bill".

Clarice Starling is a beacon of light in the middle of a hopeless world of darkness. She is smart, intuitive, resourceful and brave.


Hardly, anyone thinks himself as the villain, each character (real or fiction) thinks that they are doing the right thing and that the end justifies the means...

...and young FBI trainee Clarice Starling is "the means" for Special Agent Jack Crawford to get the insight of Dr. Hannibal Lecter about the case of the criminally insane one known as "Buffalo Bill", so exposing an unexperienced Starling to the wicked cunning Dr. Hannibal Lecter, is justified if that can accomplish the arrest of the wanted serial killer.

This kind of "justified manipulation" isn't strange to Crawford since he has done it before with Special Investigator Will Graham, that not matter his natural talent to get to know how the serial killers think, Graham was already a fragile character looking for peace of mind when he was "persuaded" to become involved once again in a serial killer case and getting inside the world of Dr. Hannibal Lecter again with disastrous outcome.

Now, it's turn for young Clarice to become a "pawn" of Jack Crawford that while his intentions are "good" in the angle that he genuinely wants to arrest criminals, he's leaving collateral damage in the path of those manhunting crusades.

Clarice may not fall now...

...but she's already in the watch of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and it was Crawford who put her there.


It seems that the serial killers world, at least in the literary universe created by Thomas Harris, is so small that a character like Dr. Hannibal Lecter, where you have to take in mind that he was a renown psychiatrist too, well, it isn't that hard to notice the particular M.O.s of each criminally insane murderers, and soon enough knowing who in the middle of that twisted club is the designer on each killing spree.

And Dr. Lecter knows that.

He knows that he is a necessary evil for being able by the forces of the law to catch other menaces of this same kind of wicked breed,

And of course, Dr. Lecter has a plan.

He is patient. There is not hurry.

He already got his payback to his accidental captor.

Now, it could be good to get his freedom back.

Since after all, the world is just too boring without him there.

And that fool Jack Crawford keeps sending him the tools to get what he wants.

Dr. Hannibal Lecter is ready to eat the whole world once again.

Be afraid.

Be very afraid...

...and turn to look if somebody is following you, ready to take you for dinner.

Profile Image for Joe Valdez.
499 reviews856 followers
June 2, 2019
Editor's Note: I'm reposting this review because my original posted on May 9 has been infested with fake "likes." Some of you have also accumulated suspicious follows and likes beginning in late April. These are accounts created in April, May or June 2019 and feature western user names, "China" as the location, 0 friends, 0 books (or close to 0) and no profile photo.

Goodreads has notified me that these are "real people." Thanks for nothing, Goodreads. I've blocked hundreds of these accounts and noticed too many similarities in their activity to believe these are real people. Please be on the lookout for followers with new accounts and no profile photo claiming to be from China. This user is not up to anything legitimate on this site.

It's my thesis that Goodreads can come together and agree that The Silence of the Lambs is a great novel. Published in 1988, this was the third novel by Thomas Harris, his follow-up to Black Sunday and Red Dragon, the latter of which introduced Dr. Hannibal Lecter and put Harris--who takes years to publish--into the FBI Behavioral Science Lab vs. Serial Killer business. I've seen the Oscar winning Best Picture several times but bumped the source material up as Sean Coyne, author of The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know and the next book on my list, uses it to illustrate the application of his many story tips.

Other than a handful of scenes and a couple of story threads omitted from the screenplay by Ted Tally for the 1991 film directed by Jonathan Demme, the movie follows the novel very closely, so I won't bother to recount the plot. The Silence of the Lambs is currently streaming on Netflix and really should be in your Blu-Ray/ DVD/ laserdisc/ VHS library if it isn't already. Let's just pick up the 25th anniversary edition and jump right in:

-- The iconography of the Death-Head's Hawkmoth is such a brilliant representation of this story. Both beautiful and sinister, the nocturnal moth emerging from its pupa relates to both Clarice Starling and Jame Gumb as these characters grow into something new. If your edition of the book doesn't include the moth on the cover, you're being robbed. It was featured prominently in the movie marketing.

-- Opening paragraph. Behavioral Science, the FBI section that deals with serial murder, is on the bottom floor of the Academy building at Quantico, half-buried in the earth. Clarice Starling reached it flushed after a fast walk from Hogan's Alley on the firing range. She had grass in her hair and grass stains on her FBI Academy windbreaker from diving to the ground under fire in an arrest problem on the range. Harris doesn't describe Starling's eyes, hair, build, etc. We know who she is by where she is and what she's doing there. And her name--Clarice Starling--summarizes her beautifully.

-- For a novel that's under 100,000 words and very fast-moving (I finished it in two days) I loved how complex it is. Harris doesn't approach things in a straight-forward fashion, but at a slant. Hour-length TV cop shows have given writers the impression that criminal investigations or manhunts can be wrapped up in under an hour. Jack Crawford doesn't send Starling to ask Hannibal Lecter who "Buffalo Bill" is outright. He knows Lecter would rather toy with authority for his own amusement than help. Instead, he sends a young female cadet on a seemingly trivial matter in an attempt to establish rapport with the doctor.

-- I'm a fan of master/pupil stories and am struck with how throughout the book, Starling is a consummate student rather than some kind of crime fighting genius. This is established in the book by how hard Starling and her roommate Ardelia Mapp are studying for their exams at the FBI Academy and cramming their heads with knowledge. Starling knows a little about a lot of things--like the difference between a patent and a copyright or what triangles on a dressmaking pattern are for--as well as a lot about her specialties: forensics and psychology. She's acquired her knowledge by reading. What book lover doesn't love a protagonist who loves to read?

-- Most horror books and films involve creatures run amok or jumping out from behind corners. The Silence of the Lambs involves a serial killer interned at the Baltimore State Hospital for the Criminally Insane who, as long as you obey the rules and respect what he is, cannot get at you through his cell. Yet Dr. Hannibal Lecter is terrifying because he can't be contained to his cell. He sees through his visitors, reduces them to their weakest natures and takes advantage of them. I like how Dr. Lecter can discuss murdering his former patient and serving the pancreas to unsuspecting dinner guests, but stresses politeness and nice manners at all times.

"Raspail's dream of happiness was ruined. He put Klaus' head in a bowling bag and came back East."

"What did he do with the rest?"

"Buried it in the hills."

"He showed you the head in the car?"

"Oh yes, in the course of therapy he came to feel he could tell me anything. He went out to sit with Klaus quite often and showed him the Valentines."

"And then Raspail himself ... died. Why?"

"Frankly, I got sick and tired of his whining. Best thing for him, really. Therapy wasn't going anywhere. I expect most psychiatrists have a patient or two they'd like to refer to me. I've never discussed this before, and now I'm getting bored with it."

"And your dinner for the orchestra officials?"

"Haven't you ever had people coming over and no time to shop? You have to make do with what's in the fridge, Clarice. May I call you Clarice?"

"Yes. I think I'll just call you--"

"Dr. Lecter--that seems most appropriate to your age and station," he said.


"How did you feel when you went into the garage?"



"Mice and insects."

"Do you have something you use when you want to get up your nerve?" Dr. Lecter asked.

"Nothing I know of that works, except wanting what I'm after."

-- If profiling a serial killer and tracking him down--Harris establishes that as of 1988 there was no precedent for a female serial killer--wasn't hard, Starling has to manage the feelings of men she comes into contact with doing her job. Hospital administrator Dr. Chilton hits on Starling within a minute of her entering his office and when rebuffed, goes out of his way to make her work difficult. Noble Pilcher, entomologist at the Smithsonian Institute, asks Starling out while she's trying to determine why Buffalo Bill has inserted an insect pupa into his victims' throats. A sheriff's deputy tries to chat with Starling while she's searching Catherine Martin's apartment and she has to tell the lawman to hush in the sweetest way possible. These are all concerns Will Graham never had to deal with in Red Dragon.

-- As thrillers go, the climax is sensational. (view spoiler) I love how Harris shoots through Starling's decision-making process on whether to find Jame Gumb, confirm that he's fled the house or help Catherine Martin out of the well in the basement. It's like an FBI Choose Your Own Adventure.

-- Closing paragraph. Far to the east, on the Chesapeake shore, Orion stood high in the clear night, above a big old house, and a room where a fire is banked for the night, its light pulsing gently with the wind above the chimneys. On a large bed there are many quilts and on the quilts and under them are several large dogs. Additional mounds beneath the covers may or may not be Noble Pilcher, it is impossible to determine in the ambient light. But the face on the pillow, rosy in the firelight, is certainly that of Clarice Starling, and she sleeps deeply, sweetly, in the silence of the lambs.

Perfect ending to the perfect novel.

Length: 94,827 words
Profile Image for Jess☺️.
487 reviews84 followers
June 4, 2019
The Silence Of The Lambs by Thomas Harris is book 2 of the Hannibal Lector series this time with another twisted psychopath Buffalo Bill and let's not forget Dr Chilton (he's just as bad as these two 😒)
This book is more disturbing than the first,moths and skin suit is all that needs to be said.😬
It doesn't matter how many times you've seen this film this book is always going to be 10X better it gives you that nervous anticipation feeling whilst your hanging off the edge of your seat screaming 'come on come go go go!!'
Hannibal Lector is that character that we love to hate even if he does chill me to the bones.
If you read the first book then you definitely need to read this one next.
Profile Image for Ron.
394 reviews97 followers
February 14, 2021
Much like the way Red Dragon opens to a scene with Will Graham, The Silence of the Lambs opens to Clarice Starling. It's a reminder that Will has left the life that tragically maimed him, both emotionally and physically, with memories that are tragic. Harris though, he never writes Clarice with the attempt to supplant Graham as our new hero. Like Will, she is our antihero of sorts. She is the unconventional, and therefore, very likable character. Human, as we are, with below the means family roots and upbringing. Using her past becomes her unexpected strength. That, and her uncanny ability to “see” what others miss. And because she's a woman, she has the advantage of seeing what men simply can't. Only a few people seem to realize this: Jack Crawford and Hannibal Lecter being the main two, and the only major characters carried over from the story by Harris. Jack Crawford immediately feels like a father figure to Clarice, keeping his distance at the same time. And Hannibal...well, he feels like Hannibal. The dark father figure, if you will. Unbelievably smart. All that brain power used to play the game, slowly biding time, waiting for a mistake is made. Here in Silence, I got to know him better. Pieces of him are revealed, while he adeptly picks choice memories from Clarice's past. She plays the game too. Finding “Buffalo Bill” will become more important for her than she can know.

I wouldn't have thought it possible to like Silence of the Lambs more than I had liked Red Dragon, but there it is. And I don't think I could find a real flaw in this story, even if I hunted for one.
Profile Image for Kerri.
989 reviews368 followers
November 19, 2022

Wow! I loved this just as much as the first. I did miss Will though, as I thought I would. But Clarice is awesome too. I wont mention much. If possible, go in without knowing too much. There is a serial killer. Can Dr. Hannibal Lecter help them find him? Actually, will he? He can, but most likely wont. It's all a way for him to entertain himself. He certainly doesn't care about the victims, young women being killed and skinned then dumped in rivers. He seems willing to talk a little with Clarice Starling. It goes from there. Excellent and utterly absorbing.

I am finding these books absolutely gripping to read, and am going straight on to the next one. They are holding my attention completely, and I'm flying through them! This next one is a lot longer, and seems to be less popular, but I'm eager to find out my own opinion on it.
Profile Image for Johann (jobis89).
672 reviews4,298 followers
May 3, 2022
Exceeded all my expectations. Loved it even though I knew exactly what was coming! 5 stars.
Profile Image for HaMiT.
169 reviews33 followers
August 29, 2022
متن زیر رو از کپشن یه پست اینستاگرام کپی می‌کنم که در مورد اهمیت شخصیت کلاریس استارلینگ و چرا این شخصیت اینقدر مهمه
خواستم خودم بنویسم ولی دیدم این متن همه‌ی چیزهایی که دوس دارم بگم رو خیلی بهتر بیان کرده
گرچه برای فیلم نوشته شده ولی چندان اهمیتی نداره

دیدگاه فمنیستی ماندگار فیلم سکوت بره‌ها
چرا کلاریس اِسترلینگ یکی از مهم‌ترین شخصیت‌های زن در تاریخ سینما است؟

اگر او (بیل) اون دختر رو به چشم یک فرد ببینه، نه یک شی، آسیب رسوندن به اون دختر براش سخت‌تر می‌شه

جمله‌ی بالا توسط کلاریس استرلینگ گفته می‌شود، کاراکتر افسانه‌ای که جودی فاستر در فیلم کلاسیک ژانر وحشت «سکوت بره‌ها» به آن جان بخشیده است. قطعا دیالوگی که در بالا ذکر شد، به یاد ماندنی‌ترین نقل‌قول در فیلم نیست اما آن نقل‌قول از کلاریس به قلبِ چیزی در مرکز روایت فیلم اشاره می‌کند: اهمیت مشارکتِ زنانه
دیالوگی که در ابتدای نوشته خواندید از آن جهت مهم است که در فیلم کلاریس در آن دیالوگ به بوفالو بیل ارجاع می‌دهد، آن دیالوگ به ایده‌ی کلیِ نهفته در فیلم که همانا ضدیت با خیرگی مردانه است اشاره می‌کند
برای توضیح بیشتر، خیرگیِ مردانه ابتدا توسط منتقد فیلمِ فمنیست،خانم لورا مالوِی در مقاله‌ی تاثیر‌گذارش به نام «لذت بصری و سینمای داستانی» مطرح شد. فرض خانم مالوِی بر آن است که در یک جامعه‌ی پدرسالار، فیلم‌ها نیز فی‌نفسه همان نگاه سلطه‌جویانه مردانه را بازتاب می‌دهند، چه به صورت ناخودآگاه یا چه به صورت واضح و آشکار. مالوِی می‌گوید سینما بیننده را به سمتی می‌کشاند که دیدگاه مردان هتروسکشوال را برای خود برگزینند در نتیجه [سینما] زنان را بر روی پرده به شی تقلیل می‌دهد. به کارگیری چنین دیدگاهی، مانع شکل‌گیری شخصیتِ کاراکتر‌های زن می‌شود و به جای‌اش آنها را به مانند اشیایی به قصد لذت بیننده عرضه می‌کند. به بیانی دیگر، مالوِی می‌گوید که فیلم به مثابه فرمی از اسکوپفیلیا عمل می‌کند که به معنی لذت بردن از طریق نگاه کردن است. سینما شکلی از دیدن‌ زدن است که در آن بیننده لذتی را از طریق در اختیار داشتن قدرت خیرگی‌ای که زنان را به شی تقلیل می‌دهد، دریافت می‌کند. قطعا این نظریه را نمی‌توان به تمامی فیلم‌ها نسبت داد، اما در صنعتی که اکثر نویسندگان و کارگردانانش را مردان تشکیل می‌دهند، پیدا کردن شاهد مثالی برای نظریه‌ی خانم مالوِی کار چندان سختی نیست
به نظرِ کلاریس، برای قاتلی نظیر بوفالو بیل، تصور زن به عنوان یک فرد و نه به سادگی یک شی، استفاده و دزدیدن زنان را برای بیل سخت‌تر و پیچیده‌تر می‌کند.همین دیدگاه نیز در مورد فیلم از منظر هنری و با توجه به نظریه‌ی مالوِی صادق است.با شی‌انگاری زنان در فیلم برای لذت بصری،ما هویت‌شان را به عنوان یک انسان سلب می‌کنیم. «سکوت بره‌ها» نمونه‌ای از یک فیلم نادر است که خیرگیِ مردانه را به زیر می‌کشد
کارگردان فیلم ما را وا می‌دارد تا کلاریس و تمام زنان را با دیدی فراخ‌تر ببینیم، همان‌طور که دیالوگ نقل‌قول شده در ابتدای نوشته بیان می‌کند، به مثابه انسان و نه فقط یک شی
در رد خیرگی مردانه، دِمی (کارگردان) و جودی فاستر این توانایی را دارند تا از کلاریس یک شخصیت عمیقِ باورپذیر و پخته بسازند. کلاریس فرد دوست‌داشتنی و چند‌لایه است نه صرفا یک شی. برای پاسخ به پرسش هانیبال، مطمئناً، کلاریس نیز می‌تواند، همانند تمام زنان دیگر، حرکت چشمان طماع را بر روی بدنش حس کند. نکته مهم این است که فیلم بیننده را وا می‌دارد تا آن تجربه‌ی مورد دید زده شدن را تجربه کند به جای آنکه خودش نیز در عملِ دیدن‌ زدن مشارکت کند. صحنه‌های بسیاری در فیلم وجود دارد که آن حس مشهود ناخشنودی را که زنان در شرایط خاصی حس می‌کنند را به خوبی نشان می‌دهد

لینک پست اینستاگرام
فیلم و کتاب هر دو این موضوع رو به خوبی بیان می‌کنن ولی فکر می‌کنم توی فیلم کمی بهتر از کار در اومده
در کل فیلم به اندازه‌ی کافی عالی هست که نیاز نباشه کتاب رو بخونید، فقط مقداری از جزئیات در جهت سرعت دادن به داستان تغییر کرده یا حذف شده. خصوصاً اگه قرار باشه هزینه کنید و سراغ این ترجمه برید که من اصلاً پیشنهاد نمی‌کنم
به نظرم یا به فیلم بسنده کنید یا نسخه اصلی بخونید
اینم چندتا آرت از سکوت بره‌ها

آرت‌ها از اینجا گرفته شدن
Profile Image for Rahul Matthew.
88 reviews44 followers
August 8, 2022
Not many books to movie adaptations do justice, but this is definitely how you go about it.Love the slow build up of characters and although saw movie first. I am just going slow as I marvel at a well-written book.When a book asks you to take your time, you are absolutely thrilled. Not many books can command that kind of respect.The book is daring me to read another book, it quite confident that I will come back and remember it!!!
Alright so I finished the thriller and it just made me so happy.Now I am a tough cookie when it comes to movie adaptions and so many have failed either bookwise or as a movie.You have to give credit to the author for creating a villain you actually rooting for
Hannibal Lector is half beauty(Intelligence, civility, his cussing doesn't irk you) and half beast(Cannibalistic in nature, psychopath).Clarisse
Starling is strong female character yet Hannibal plays with her emotions and compliments him.

I did not want to give any spoilers, rather you enjoy the thriller for yourself.But what makes a really good book-Well if it has the ability to make the movie in your head right!!So the book is asking me to rather than stay happy with the book.Who in your opinion can match this amazing individual?Well someone who can take him on an emotional ride.Well, none other than Sherlock Holmes.
Now some people might disagree with me, but I will state my points.Sherlock(Loves a challenge, takes his opponent head on, not emotionally
involved, mostly solves crimes and has a keen eye for detail).So an author who creates on these two characters would have a tough task.Both are strong characters in their respective fields of expertise!!!
Profile Image for Calista.
4,074 reviews31.3k followers
December 1, 2020
I read this book when I was in college. The movie came out a few years before and it was all everyone could talk about that year. I was on a summer youth trip and one of the chaperone's was reading this book and it was the first time I realized the movie was based on a book. Later that summer, I got this book and gave it a read.

It was probably scarier than the movie. Hannibal Lecter is simply so smart which means Thomas Harris had to be that smart to write him. It's a master work on terror and shock and the twist at the end is so good. I have seen the movie many times and that is mostly what sticks in my mind. I do remember reading this and getting more info on how twisted Buffalo Bill was from Hannibal.

If you are looking for a scary read, this is still one of the best books out there. The tension is all the way through.
Profile Image for Lightreads.
641 reviews534 followers
December 28, 2008
I'm assuming this book was once shocking and groundbreaking. And okay, yes, eww with the eating people and the skinning. But also? Shut the fuck up, Thomas Harris. There are few things more obnoxious than a male author with a hard-on for his female protagonist. Worth reading for Hannibal the Cannibal, because I dig that abnormal psychology stuff, but did I mention the objectification? The sexism? The way the reader is never allowed to forget
about gender? How every male she meets falls for the heroin? Yeah, as it turns out, the unnamed and hovering Harris narrator is by far the most hateful and creepy personality around, and that's including the aforementioned cannibal.

Profile Image for J. Kent Messum.
Author 5 books234 followers
September 20, 2018
Unquestionably one of the best books ever written in the thriller genre. I'd call this required reading for anyone who enjoys, or wishes to write, popular fiction. I'm incredibly hesitant to call anything contemporary a "modern day masterpiece", but there are a handful of exceptions, and this offering from Thomas Harris is undoubtedly one of them.

'The Silence Of The Lambs' is one of the novels I teach in my ‘Writing Popular Fiction’ course at the University of Toronto, and for good reason: Well written, great plotting/pacing, fantastic complex characters, in-depth research, and excellent dialogue. Clarice Starling is one hell of a protagonist, and Hannibal Lecter is one of the greatest fictional villains in the history of literature (not to mention his pages run parallel to serial killer Buffalo Bill, yet another high-ranking antagonist in the catalogue of men who have become monsters).

Harris' writing hits you in the heart, spears you in the gut, and raises the hairs on the back of your neck all too often. The insatiable hunger of human predators goes several shades darker in this masterpiece, pushing the envelope at all four corners until they tear. There is so much to experience, digest, and unpack in this novel that it is worth reading more than once. Personally, I've read it about half a dozen times. For an extra treat, listen to the audiobook narrated by none other than the great Kathy Bates. Her rendition of Hannibal The Cannibal will chill your blood.
Profile Image for Madeline.
781 reviews47.2k followers
January 5, 2019
There’s a very good reason that this is the Hannibal Lecter novel that put Thomas Harris on the map. Red Dragon was good. The Silence of the Lambs is better. Harris takes everything he did well in the previous novel and fine-tunes it – we have a better killer, a more dramatic race against time, a more compelling protagonist, and of course, much more time with dear Dr. Lecter, who finally gets to take center stage after being little more than a cameo in Red Dragon. Unlike Francis Dolarhryde, Thomas Harris is not particularly concerned with the tragic backstory of Buffalo Bill, or interested in exploring his motivations. We get satisfying answers to both of those questions, of course, but this is not a book about Buffalo Bill. This is a story about Clarice Starling, and the dangerous quasi-partnership she cultivates with a serial killer in order to catch another serial killer.

It’s also, brilliantly, a revealing look at how much of a daily struggle it is to be a woman in a male-dominated field. There’s a great moment early in the movie adaptation of The Silence of the Lambs where Starling gets into an elevator filled with her fellow FBI trainees, and we see Jodie Foster in a tight space surrounded by men who are all at least six inches taller than her. It’s a brief shot, and isn’t over-emphasized, but it tells us everything we need to know about what Starling’s daily routine is like. And the best part is that we don’t even get any obvious scenes of outright gender discrimination – just constant little things, in every single interaction Starling has with other characters. (Starling can’t escape even when she’s performing everyday, unexciting tasks – an errand to the Smithsonian ends with one of the scientists asking her out, and what’s especially funny is that Starling isn’t even mad that this guy couldn’t see her as an FBI agent first and a woman second, she’s just annoyed that he asked her out and not his cuter coworker)

I’ll have to track down Hannibal soon, because I definitely need more Clarice Starling in my life.

“We rarely get to prepare ourselves in meadows or on graveled walks; we do it on short notice in places without windows, hospital corridors, rooms like this lounge with its cracked plastic sofa and Cinzano ashtrays, where the café curtains cover blank concrete. In rooms like this, with so little time, we prepare our gestures, get them by heart so we can do them when we’re frightened in the face of Doom. Starling was old enough to know that; she didn’t let the room affect her.

Starling walked up and down. She gestured to the air. ‘Hold on, girl,’ she said aloud. She said it to Catherine Martin and she said it to herself. ‘We’re better than this room. We’re better than this fucking place,’ she said aloud. ‘We’re better than wherever he’s got you. Help me. Help me. Help me.’ She thought for an instant of her late parents. She wondered if they would be ashamed of her now – just that question, not its pertinence, no qualifications – the way we always ask it. The answer was no, they would not be ashamed of her.

She washed her face and went out into the hall.”
Profile Image for Mariana.
392 reviews1,772 followers
April 20, 2021
Maravilloso libro que no puedes soltar en cuanto lo empiezas. Clarice Starling se va a quedar conmigo como uno de mis personajes favoritos (y su amiga Ardelia también es genial). Poco puedo decir que otros no hayan dicho ya sobre esta historia que ha marcado un hito en la cultura popular y en la literatura sobre asesinos. Me gusta que Harris hace un esfuerzo por mostrarnos los retos a los que Starling se enfrenta por ser una mujer desempeñándose en un cuerpo policiaco tradicionalmente machista. Me pregunto si esto es un esfuerzo consciente después de que en Dragón Rojo no hay realmente personajes femeninos. Por otro lado, tenía miedo de encontrarme con un retrato transfóbico en esta historia escrita en 1988, pero Harris se asegura de incluir a un personaje que hace énfasis en decir que no puede, ni debe estigmatizarse a las personas trans por las acciones de un individuo (no puedo adentrarme mucho en esto porque sería spoiler).
Tiene dos escenas aterradoras en mi opinión: la bodega y el descubrimiento en la tina. Puntos extra de pesadilla porque destesto a los insectos y pensar en esas polillas me hizo alucinar que las veía en todos lados.
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,543 reviews12.9k followers
December 1, 2018
A serial killer called Buffalo Bill is abducting and skinning young women. When his latest victim turns out to be the daughter of a US Senator, the pressure’s on for the authorities to find her as there’s mere days until she’ll be killed. As a desperate last measure, FBI agent-in-training Clarice Starling is sent to speak with the one man who could lead them to Buffalo Bill in time to save the girl: the imprisoned serial killer Dr. Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lecter…

I don’t know why I waited so long to read anything by Thomas Harris as I’ve seen the movie adaptation of this book at least twice now and loved it each time. Likewise, Harris’ The Silence of the Lambs is fantastic!

The characters are absolutely amazing. Hannibal is the star of course and every scene this dude was in was utterly electrifying to read. As immortal as Anthony Hopkins’ performance is, I like the literary Hannibal much more as I feel that there’s more time to really get to know the character’s depth and insidiousness in the book than in the snippets we get in the film. His cultured voice is striking, subtle and terrifying all at once, with a nuanced, unknowable personality to match - he’s undoubtedly a monster but so strangely likeable at the same time! Harris has created a character for the ages with Lecter - bravo, sir!

Clarice is also a compelling and unique protagonist and I loved the silly side character of Dr Frederick Chilton too - his shallow and prideful personality made him an amusing foil for the likes of Starling and Lecter to rile against. Buffalo Bill was a remarkable villain - as disturbing and disturbed as someone who does what he does should be. Starling’s boss Jack Crawford was also a decent character though he got more space in the book than he really needed - his storyline about his dying wife didn’t really add anything and felt superfluous.

Harris couples his brilliant characters with an equally-inspired cat-and-mouse story as Starling hunts Bill with Lecter watching on the sidelines. It’s an exciting, well-developed and gripping narrative that builds steadily and enjoyably. I didn’t like the more police-procedural aspects of the story - like when Clarice is autopsying one of Bill’s victims, or the discussion on moth varieties - as they felt very dry and boring, but I was mostly always entertained.

The Silence of the Lambs is a superb crime thriller. First-rate writing, an imaginative story and a fascinating cast of characters - Thomas Harris’ novel is an instant classic.
Profile Image for Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*.
2,473 reviews1,085 followers
March 29, 2015
Another re-read of Silence of the Lambs, this time my favorite. Maybe it's because I'm more into the story and read them in the order of sequence and not popularity, I'm not sure, but this time around I found it even more fascinating than the first meet.

Clarice is a likeable character. Her background melding with who she wants to be is an admirable one. She's given the chance of a lifetime, handed out by a man she admires, to step her foot firmly into the FBI. Without meaning to, she's sucked into the world of Hannibal Lecter, who spurs her on to uncover clues and solve the mystery of the serial killer the media calls Buffalo Bill. Her determination mixed with fragile ego was a realistic blend, and her internal backward insults when talking to people who don't give her enough credit was downright amusing.

The character of Hannibal Lecter is larger than life, written so well on the pages I can see him clearly as the writer takes him through the motions. With class and culture, manners but enjoying cruelty with his words, the madman is interesting as he both torments Clarice and forces her to self-reveal. The heart of the book is their verbal warplay, the cautious pauses on her behalf, the strategic maneuvering on his.

I'm surprised how much I felt for Crawford in this one; I think before he fell in the shadows and I didn't pay as much notice. He's an intriguing character from his haunting moments with his ailing wife, his detached involvement with Hannibal, to his almost paternal bond of Clarice.

As a serial killer, Jame Gumb is twisted. Monstrous in mind and disgusting with actions, he absorbs just enough page time to be interesting but not enough to make it too much about him, to take the focus off the more fascinating areas of this book. And the escape with Hannibal is a tense, intelligently created one.

With books like Hannibal Rising, I sometimes found Harris too dry and to the point, but here in Silence he shines, obviously having a lot of enthusiasm to make a multi-layered, psychologically twisted work - the combining of such different people already in various forms of power to those just coming into their own.

I tried watching the movie again recently but turned it off after about 20 minutes. Too soon and I already missed some of the depth in dialogue the book held.
Profile Image for Tristan.
112 reviews231 followers
October 16, 2016
“I collect church collapses, recreationally. Did you see the recent one in Sicily? Marvelous! The facade fell on sixty-five grandmothers at a special mass. Was that evil? If so, who did it? If he's up there, he just loves it, Officer Starling. Typhoid and swans - it all comes from the same place."
- Hannibal Lecter

There always lies a certain degree of tragedy in reading the source material after having seen (multiple times) its expertly executed film adaptation. Besides the revelation of the plot, the resulting contamination makes it mighty difficult to come up with one's own, unique interpretations of the characters. It slightly spoils the reading experience, since the element of surprise, the freshness is all but gone.

This is especially true for Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs, with its now iconic portrayals of Clarice Starling and Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter. As a thriller, it is by definition very much plot driven.

For this reason, reading the book became more of a clinical procedure to me, trying to detect where there is a deviation in dialogue, which scenes were cut/expanded, which characters were more or less fleshed out, etc.. The viscerality which a novel of this type often aims to provoke, wasn't quite there as a result. I see why it's a very well-written thriller, but the emotional response just never quite managed to materialize.

There was however a theme I spotted in this, which I strangely didn't pick up on before. After thinking it through, I found it's really a tale about parentship. More specifically, about which of the primary (almost archetypal) males in Starling's life at that time can claim her (an orphan) as his, which one has influenced, moulded her the most.

First there is Crawford, the respectable, protective mentor figure, who tries to guide her through the pitfalls of her fledgling career in the FBI. Then we have Chilton. A rather sleazy, intellectually inferior asylum ward, who makes thinly veiled sexual advances towards Starling, and doesn't quite respect her in an official capacity. And finally, the fiendish Lecter, who seeks to corrupt (metaphorically devirginize?) her, to impart to her an esoteric knowledge about the inescapable darkness of the world and the human psyche. The dialogues between him and Starling are for that reason alone utterly fantastic.

If this was my first encounter with Harris' world and characters, it most definitely would have been awarded a four or even five star rating. It truly is a great piece of crime thriller writing, and deserves all its praise. Unfortunately, it suffers from my early, intense exposure to the film adaptation, bringing the rating down a notch.
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