‘Rear Window’ Redux, With a Blind Girl Twist

THE SILENCE IN HER EYES, by Armando Lucas Correa. Read by Suehyla El-Attar Young.

“Here comes the little blind girl,” people say when Leah walks by. But she’s not a little girl, even if she often acts like one — she’s 28 years old, and rich, the owner of a handsome apartment in Morningside Heights. Nor is she blind, really. Leah, the protagonist of “The Silence in Her Eyes,” a thriller by Armando Lucas Correa, has akinetopsia, an inability to perceive objects in motion. To her, the world appears as a string of pictures, frozen and fragmented.

But Leah, who lives alone after her mother’s recent death, tended to by a rotating cast of helpers — a therapist, a kindly housekeeper, a boy who delivers her meals — discerns a great deal. In the absence of ordinary sight, her senses of smell and hearing have become almost absurdly overdeveloped. She can hear the fitful breathing of her neighbor two floors down, and picks up the comings and goings of her building’s tenants from a whiff of the elevator.

When a new neighbor — a young woman named Alice, rumored to be going through a messy divorce — moves in next door, Leah’s tendencies slip from observer to voyeur. She eavesdrops nightly on Alice’s increasingly anguished phone calls with her abusive husband, and comes to suspect that, as with Jimmy Stewart’s character in “Rear Window,” this habit of prying may make her the hidden witness to a violent crime.

But, despite the narrator Suehyla El-Attar Young’s best efforts at a theatrical reading, “The Silence in Her Eyes”never takes off. Correa’s characters are half-sketched; his emotional palette seems constrained to primary colors. He draws suspense only from the arbitrary withholding of information, yet never delivers a convincing moment of surprise. Without any culminating sense of coherence, the novel feels as disjointed and unsatisfying as Leah’s perception of the world — just a series of stray, shuddering images, flashbulbs bursting against a darkened screen.

THE SILENCE IN HER EYES | By Armando Lucas Correa | Read by Suehyla El-Attar Young | Simon & Schuster Audio | 6 hours, 58 minutes

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