What constitutes identity?

For all its historical setting, Walls of Silence is a book exploring a very current reality. Because here’s the thing: every time we succumb to posting a lie or an exaggeration about ourselves on social media, we fudge ourselves a little. Blur the edges. Alter reality. But what if that false you ended up becoming you? How would you ever realise you had morphed into a construct of your own imagination?

The brick wall of identity in Walls of Silence. A novel of multiple personality, asylums and secrets by Ruth Wade

Everyone has multiple personalities. Different faces of self we can call on to enable a smooth transition from one of our life roles to another. If you doubt this then think about whether you wear the same clothes, use the same words or language, talk about the same things, act in the same way, tell the same jokes when you are with . . . your work colleagues / family / old school mates / new boss / friends’ children / strangers / a hated rival / lifelong heroes / love of your life (and here I’ve only scratched the surface of examples). All of us take some care over how we present ourselves to the world but this activity presupposes a central sense of self we can radiate out from, and return to. Without that we are just an illusion, a tissue of fabrication. And if that were the case, what would we have to cling onto once the inevitable happened and that false reality began to disintegrate?

I hope your brief time inside the head of Edith Potter, the protagonist and victim of Walls of Silence, has not been too unsettling . . .

For some insights on how I explored what it might have been like to be Edith, start your journey Charting the mind.

Or you might like to explore my mind-maps on how I developed the characters of Edith & Stephen and their relationship:

Walls of Silence: Part I

Walls of Silence: Part II

Walls of Silence: Part III

Walls of Silence: Part IV

Walls of Silence: Part V



You may also be interested in Ruth Wade’s Rhythms in Crime Dance Quartet) or for crime set in 1920’s London, try the May Keaps series by BK Duncan.


Still from Wellcome film on shell-shock treatment in WW1


I’d always had a horrified fascination

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Leap of faith. Launching into writing. Ruth Wade

Leap of faith

I want to be the best writer I can possibly be 

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Historical fiction. Edwardian family. From Ruth Wade collection

The past in the present

Hilary Mantel’s thoughts on historical fiction chime with mine.  

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1930's photo of Dare Partners motorcycle stunt act.

Some books you just have to grow into

Walls of Silence is the novel that wouldn’t let me alone.

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Ruth Wade talks to Crime Time

Read my piece on the writing of Walls of Silence 

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Keys to Walls of Silence by Ruth Wade

Walls of Silence

I like my novels to have hidden meanings; different levels at which they can be read.

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