The mystery of Alicia’s silence lies at the heart of the novel. Though she does not speak until the final chapters of the book, her diary entries provide the only alternative to Theo’s narration, occasionally contradicting his portrayal of events and characters. She is portrayed as a talented artist who, by her own admission, communicates better through pictures than through words. Still, her diary entries show her to be a passionate, intelligent and strong-willed individual who has worked hard to overcome a deeply unhappy childhood. The deaths of her father by suicide, and her mother by what she suspects to be suicide, are a cause of great anxiety for Alicia, who worries that she is fated to lose the battle with her personal demons. Despite these anxieties, she finds great happiness in her work and relationship with Gabriel, and prior to his murder, she eagerly looks forward to motherhood.  

Both Theo and Alicia were marked by trauma earlier in life due to factors out of their control. While Theo places his faith in therapy, Alicia instead attempts to work through her complicated feelings in her art, refusing to document any “crazy thoughts” in her journal. Tragically, she is unable to escape her past. When a masked Theo compels Gabriel to choose his life over hers, Alicia is overcome by her own traumatic memory of a similar betrayal by her father, and she murders her husband. Like Theo, Alicia is ultimately unable to overcome her trauma.