John Harwood – The Asylum
Houghton Mifflin HarcourtISBN 0544003470
(ARC received from netgalley.com)
It took me three days to read this book; and it would have been an even faster read hadn’t it been for such trivial things as sleeping and eating that needed to be taken care of.
Seriously, “The Asylum” is a real page turner – even though this is a much overused term, I can’t find a better one to describe this novel.
Still, it took me several weeks to write a review for it since it is hard to praise it without giving away too much of the story.
I’ll still try to convey why I think it is worth four stars.
The Asylum takes place in the 1880s and tells the story of young Georgina Ferrars who wakes up in a lunatic asylum without knowing how she got there. The doctor running the asylum seems to know more than he lets on and neither the protagonist nor the reader can be sure about his motives.
The plot revolves around Georgina trying to find out what really happened to her. All of this is told from her point of view which makes the reader question her as a narrator as well as the other characters that claim to know what has happened. Additionally there are Georgina’s childhood memories and the question of who she really is – and if those memories are truly hers.
Every time I put the book down I found myself thinking about it, trying to make sense of the events and also constantly having new theories about Georgina and her situation.
This is a mystery story which hugely borrows from the classic gothic genre.
And although this might not be a novel with deep philosophical implications or poetical writing, it is a fun and gripping read.
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