Julia Severn is a student at an elite institute for psychics. Her mentor, the legendary Madame Ackermann, afflicted by jealousy, subjects Julia to the humiliation of reliving her mother's suicide when Julia was an infant. As the two lock horns, and Julia gains power, Madame Ackermann launches a desperate psychic attack that leaves Julia the victim of a crippling ailment. But others have noted Julia's emerging gifts, and soon she's recruited to track down an elusive missing person who might have a connection to her mother. As Julia sifts through ghosts and astral clues, everything she thought she knew of her mother is called into question, and she discovers that her ability to know the minds of others goes far deeper than she ever imagined.
©2012 Heidi Julavits (P)2012 Dreamscape Media, LLC
"...wry, witty...magical...Julavits's often acerbic prose generates laughs despite the sad reality of Julia's life." (Publishers Weekly)
"...searing...Intelligent and ambitious..." (Kirkus Reviews)
“An absorbing meditation on female competition with Hitchcockian twists” (Entertainment Weekly)
I liked the idea behind the story. It's not something that sounded familiar. I think I was hoping for something a more based on the reviews and summary. Overall just left me feeling a bit depressed and glad it was over.
I did recommend it...we listened to it at the same time and in the end both felt similar. So I don't think I would suggest it to someone else.
I didn't love this reader which may have been part of my dislike of the book. I felt I had to get past her voice to hear the story.
It made me think so I don't discount the time spent listening although I didn't thoroughly enjoy it.
The narrator of this book sort of drifts off with each sentence. It's an affectation that I found very irritating.
Probably my favorite audio book
Too many to love. This is a quirky read.
I have not heard her before but will be looking to listen to her again.
I did want to. Instead I wound up listening to it several times in a row.
A unique read. The narrative is complex, unusual, otherworldly. The narrator draws you in and hypnotizes you.
If books could mate and produce offspring, this novel would be the child of Thomas Pynchon and Marguerite Duras, with a healthy gene-splicing of Freud thrown in for good measure. It’s been a long time since I read a novel that left me feeling simultaneously elated—for its brilliance—and disturbed (in a good way)—because of the issues it explores. Not since The Ravishing of Lol Stein (Duras) have a I read a novel that so beautifully and almost seamlessly incorporates psychoanalytic theory. Whereas Duras focuses on female (or feminine) sexuality, however, Julavitz’s concern is with mothers, and their vexed relationships to their children, particularly their daughters. I admit I had to listen to it several times to “get” everything, because it is complex and layered, and if you drift off for a moment, you may miss a crucial detail. Several reviews that I have read call it an academic satire, and certainly that is one of the layers, but it is so much more than that. I would even go so far as to say that, of all the books I have listened to since I became an audible member, this has been the most challenging and one of the most rewarding. Thank you, Heidi Julavitz.
I am sorry to say I did not like the narrator who left me in a somnolent state most of the time. Her voice sounded bored, pouty and flatlined. I did not get in to the story or care what happened to the main protagonist. The outline for the book made an interesting read but the the actual prose did nothing for me. I am not sure if I would have got more from this book if I had read it myself,
I would definitely listen to a snippet to see if you like the narrator. I bought this on a whim as it was recommended in the Oprah book club list and sounded very interesting. I wish I had listened to my own advice.
I really enjoyed the themes of perception of self vs. other's perception and how it may define identity, and mother-daughter relationships, mentor-student relationships, and what these things might mean to a young woman.
It was satisfying how the many complicated elements eventually were revealed to be connected. It had a lot of ambiguity as to which parts of the plot may have been real or imagined and blended these in a way that served the themes.
The narrator was the worrrrrrsssst. She was just bad. She sounded like she was on the verge of falling into a drug induced coma at all times. The vocal fry was off the charts. She also managed to have an up intonation at the end of every single sentence? So everything sounded like a sleepy question? Uh, like, which character is even talking right now? Like, I don't know? I'm sleepy and they all sound the same? Are you my mother? What?
I want to read it again as an actual paper book. I think it will be a much better experience.
I have never given up on a book this soon, but after an hour of listening to the unbelievably annoying, simpering, melodramatic voice of the narrator, and the overly wordy while telling me absolutely nothing and having no point story, I had to give up. And I was on a road trip! I'd listen to someone read the dictionary on a road trip if there was nothing else (unless, of course, it was this narrator).
I liked the premise, so maybe I'll try to Kindle this and scrape through the first hour of the story again, but I probably won't.
Wish there was a way to tag this narrator in case I mistakingly pick a book that has her on it again.
People who like long, boring, and overly analytical stories that go around in circles will love this one.
I don't know.
I did not enjoy the quiet, whiny voice. If this is how she always sounds, no I won't be listening again. I'm hoping this was just part of the acting.
everything in the middle...yawn
No, I've spent too much time on this book already. The only reason why I'm responding now is to perhaps save others from wasting time.
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