The Execution of Noa P. Singleton: Book summary and reviews of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

A Novel

By Elizabeth L. Silver

The Execution of Noa P. Singleton

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Book Summary

A beguiling debut novel about the stories we tell ourselves to survive, the scars that never fade and the things we choose to call the truth.

Noa P. Singleton speaks not a word in her own defense throughout a brief trial that ends with a jury finding her guilty of first-degree murder. Ten years later, a woman who will never know middle age, she sits on death row in a maximum security penitentiary, just six months away from her execution date.

Seemingly out of the blue, she is visited by Marlene Dixon, a high-powered Philadelphia attorney who is also the heartbroken mother of the woman Noa was imprisoned for killing. She tells Noa that she has changed her mind about the death penalty and Noa's sentence, and will do everything in her considerable power to convince the governor to commute the sentence to life in prison – if Noa will finally reveal what led her to commit her crime.

Noa and Marlene become inextricably linked through the law, shared sentiments of guilt, and irreversible mistakes in an unapologetic tale of love, anguish, and deception that is as unpredictable as it is magnificently original.

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Some of the recent comments posted about The Execution of Noa P. Singleton. Join the discussion! You can see the full discussion here.

All of the characters in The Execution of Noa P. Singleton are imprisoned in some way. With whom did you most sympathize?
I felt most sympathetic towards Oliver because he appeared to,be motivated by wanting to do the right thing. I also felt compassion for Noa at times but her personality and the fact that I wasn't sure exactly what had happened made her hard to ... - LReads

Did you find memorable or unique phrases?
With a bow to Cynthia, I too was moved by Noa's description of her failing memory. "Events slip off their shelves into the wrong year, and I'm not always sure I'm putting them back in their proper home." The sentence is particularly poignant as it... - edie

Did you like the book?
An emphatic yes! Noa is a complicated character whose thoughts and observations made me think about how we assess our actions and their motivations. She often turns the spotlight on us readers, forcing to think about how we think of those around us... - sandrah

Do you believe in the death penalty? Did your opinion change after reading this novel?
I do not believe in the death penalty and the book did not change my position. I definitely think that a book that stimulates discussion on the topic is a good thing although I think it would be rare for a novel to change opinions on such an ... - LReads

How did Noa’s self-professed guilt impact how you felt about her as a character?
Her confession made me feel more negatively towards her. I kept thinking maybe she was really innocent. She pulled the trigger and that made her responsible, no matter what anyone else did. People are responsible for their actions--maybe insanity ... - mariannes

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Silver explores convolutions of guilt and innocence beyond the law's narrow scope with a sharpness and attention to detail that can be unnerving but demands attention." - Kirkus

"This devastating read stands less as a polemic against the death penalty than as a heartbreaking brief for the preciousness of life." - Publishers Weekly

"...[T]hough by novel's end, the characters prove unlikable and their motives murky, Silver definitely delivers a thought-provoking examination of the criminal-justice system, providing a clear-eyed view of the artificial theatrics that dominate criminal trials and a heartfelt look at both grief and remorse. An intriguing debut from a writer to watch." - Booklist

"The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is mortal war between ferocious women, told with a fiery and merciless lyricism so beautiful it hurts." - Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love

"The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is an intense and gripping novel of betrayal and guilt that forces readers to confront their convictions and the limitations of their capacity for empathy. Elizabeth L. Silver is a gifted new writer, and her novel is certain to be a smash." - Ayelet Waldman, author of Bad Mother

"In The Execution of Noa P. Singleton, Elizabeth Silver puts the human factor front and center, to devastating effect. Guilt and innocence, capital punishment, the living hell of death row, all these get their due, but at the heart of it is us, the ongoing mystery of what lies inside our souls." - Ben Fountain, author of Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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Reader Reviews

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by MomMom46
Not for me
I received this book through First Impressions and was looking forward to reading it based on the rave reviews.The writing was too wordy for me and it was hard to feel sympathetic towards any of the characters. Noa is on death row,six months before her execution date and she has never said a word in her own defense. The author slowly reveals Noa's troubled youth,her psychological makeup and the truth behind the murder she is convicted of committing.All of the other characters presented have their own agendas,not helping Noa in any way. The story was interesting but I will not pass the book along to my friends.

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More Information

More Information

Elizabeth L. Silver grew up in New Orleans and Dallas and currently lives in Los Angeles. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania, an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia in England, and a JD from Temple University Beasley School of Law. She has taught ESL in Costa Rica, writing and literature at several universities in Philadelphia, and worked as a research attorney for the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals. The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is her first novel. Visit her at elizabethlsilver.com

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