The Muse Asylum

by David Czuchlewski | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0142000604 Global Overview for this book
Registered by gwendy of Rochester, New York USA on 8/13/2006
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This book is in a Controlled Release! This book is in a Controlled Release!
19 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by gwendy from Rochester, New York USA on Sunday, August 13, 2006
From the back cover: "Andrew Wallace, recent Princeton graduate and troubled genius, spends his days in the Overlook Psychiatric Institute--the Muse Asylum--writing about a dark conspiracy against him engineered by the elusive authoer Horace Jacob Little. When fellow classmade Jake Burnett, a novice reporter, arrives on the hospital grounds to visit Andrew, he learns that Andrew's problems run much deeper than simple paranoia and obsession."

I was disappointed with the writing in this book. The author tried way too hard to make it the kind of book worthy of the author he was writing about. There were many passages in which you could feel the author squeezing out descriptions meant to be clever that ended up feeling forced. That being said, I was curious to know the ending so I did finish it.

Journal Entry 2 by wingSqueakyChuwing from Rockville, Maryland USA on Saturday, August 26, 2006
Wow! A surprise RABCK from my wishlist! How kind of you to send this to me, gwendy. Thank you so much. I *really* appreciate your kindness. You've made my day!

I've always been attracted to the weird cover of this book. It may take a short while before I get to read it because I'm kind of tied down with five other books I'm trying to read at the same time! Never fear, though. It looks really interesting, and I hope to get to it before too long.

Journal Entry 3 by wingSqueakyChuwing from Rockville, Maryland USA on Saturday, August 18, 2007
Another wow! This book was astoundingly good. It had everything I love in a book...an intelligent story, food for thought, good plot twists, and characters I liked.

The story was about an elusive author by the name of Horace Jacob Little whose books were brilliant but contained no personal information about the author himself. Protagonist Jake Burnett was approached by his ex-girlfriend Lara to deliver a letter to her now ex-boyfriend Andrew who had been hospitalized for paranoid schizophrenia. Lara left Andrew because of his descent into madness based on the belief that author Horace Jacob Little was plotting to kill him.

For a debut novel, I was very taken with how easily I was captivated by this story. Two things struck me. The first was that I was really drawn into how Andrew's mental illness developed. It seemed to be very realistic. The second was that the story was about the friendship between two people who used to have been boyfriend-girlfriend. It contained the wistfulness of Jake's not having been able to keep the girl to which he was attracted and how he learned to live with that fact. It just seems like something that has happened to all of us but is seldom written about because it's sort of anti-climactic. I just liked the way this author did that.

Here is an excerpt from the story ...
"I noticed a man inching up the side aisle, hunched over and grasping at the wall. He was dressed in a heavy overcoat and a winter hat, even though it was a spring day. His face was grizzled and dirty. I could hear him mumbling to himself as he passed me. Mullin saw the man but continued to lecture..."

I'd love to share this great little book with others. It's a trade paperback not in all that good of a shape, but it's a WONDERFUL story...so give it a try!

Book Reporter

MediaBistro author interview

Review of this book by mrstreme of LibraryThing on her blog

Begin International Bookray (08/18/07):
SqueakyChu (Maryland, USA) done
passiontoread (Pennsylvania, USA) done
RockDg9 (Australia) done
Scoobs-buddy (Kentucky, USA) done
cinnycat (New York, USA) done
JennyC1230 (Georgia, USA) done
HoserLauren (Canada) done
ArabellaFigg (UK) done
Nell-Lu (UK) done
pinkydinky (UK) done -- stop #10
Snowshoee (Portugal) done
franaloe (Netherlands) done
LeishaCamden (Norway) done
Haugtussa (Norway) done
iliotropio (Belgium) done
arugh48187 (Minnesota, USA) done
Pooker3 (Canada) done
mrbaggins1 (South Africa) done
End International Bookray (08/11/10)

This bookray was ended because it was mailed to Ireland after katacs moved to Hungary. I guess the book is still floating around Ireland somewhere! This book had travelled for three years with 18 stops in nine countries including 6 states in the USA. Thanks, all for your participation!


Journal Entry 4 by wingSqueakyChuwing from Rockville, Maryland USA on Sunday, August 19, 2007
The book is in the mail to passiontoread in Pennsylvania.

Enjoy!

Journal Entry 5 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Received that book today and am really looking forward to reading it. I have to finish a book first, then will get to it. I love the bookmark too! I love that idea! Thank you so much squeakychu!!

Journal Entry 6 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Tuesday, September 04, 2007
I really enjoyed the book! Read it while on vacation and it made the vacation that much better. Good, all around murder mystery. Thanks for sharing and am contacting the next person in line.

Journal Entry 7 by passiontoread from Coopersburg, Pennsylvania USA on Thursday, September 06, 2007
The book was mailed first class to RockDg9 today. Enjoy and happy reading!

Journal Entry 8 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Arrived today - thanks!

Journal Entry 9 by RockDg9 from Toowoomba, Queensland Australia on Saturday, September 15, 2007
I really loved this! All the characters and the story were fantastic. As soon as I finished it, I found myself flicking back again to page one to start reading it all over again!

I've PMd Scoobs for an address and will get it off soon.

Journal Entry 10 by rem_XDP-320934 on Tuesday, October 09, 2007
It's here! I'll start reading it tonight- thanks so much! And a big ol' warm wet doggie kiss to you Rockdg!

Journal Entry 11 by rem_XDP-320934 on Thursday, October 18, 2007
Its not just a book with a great cover this is one helluva book- I like a story that is unique, I wasn't disappointed. Like this one so much I'm going to look for a copy of it so my SO can read it. One for my list of must reads.

Released 11 yrs ago (10/18/2007 UTC) at controlled release in controlled release, a controlled release -- Controlled Releases

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sending off to cinnycat
delivery conf- 0306 3030 0002 5605 6915

Journal Entry 13 by BookBirds from -- wild in the usa, -- Wild Released somewhere in USA -- USA on Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I got this yesterday! thanks so much for sharing, SqueakyChu and thanks so much for sending, Scoobs-buddy! I'm currently reading another bookring so I will get to this one after.

Journal Entry 14 by BookBirds from -- wild in the usa, -- Wild Released somewhere in USA -- USA on Thursday, November 01, 2007
Another example to prove my theory correct: first novels are usually amazing. And the writer is only 24! Wow. I loved this more than I thought I would. I loved the writing style, the plot, the twists...everything! I would love to see a sequel based upon the idea the main character mentions in the last few pages! Can't wait to see more from Czuchlewski!

I've got JennyC1230's address but it may take me a while to get to the post office. I'll package it up to send on my next trip to the post office! thanks so much for the opportunity to read, SqueakyChu!

Journal Entry 15 by BookBirds at N/A in ***, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases on Friday, December 14, 2007

Released 11 yrs ago (12/14/2007 UTC) at N/A in ***, a fellow bookcrosser -- Controlled Releases

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ah!! I'm so sorry it took me so long to get this in the mail! I did today! I didn't mean to hold onto it so long. Even though I read this a month and a half ago, I was still thinking about it yesterday. It is now one of my "favorite unknown books" that I will suggest to other people! thanks again for sharing!

Journal Entry 16 by JennyC1230 from Woodstock, Georgia USA on Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Hooray! I got this today in the mail. Thanks cinnycat for mailing it and Squeakychu for hosting this bookray. I am nearly done with the book I am reading now and will start this right after! :-)

Journal Entry 17 by JennyC1230 from Woodstock, Georgia USA on Thursday, December 27, 2007
I finished reading this one last night. It was really good! I have read books like this that just drag and drag because there is way too much description, this one was concise and left enough unknown that you were interested to see what happens next! At the end, you almost have to choose what the ending is. It gives a couple of different scenarios, but leaves a little doubt, so you almost get to choose your own ending! For a debut novel I liked it a lot. I will definately be interested in reading more by this author.

Mailed this to HoserLauren today!
Customs Form #LCO13458917US

Journal Entry 18 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Wednesday, January 09, 2008
I received this today, literally minutes after I had finished the book I was reading! Talk about great timing!!
I'm looking forward to it, thank you! :)

Journal Entry 19 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, January 13, 2008
This one is a tough one to explain. I will probably have to re-write my explanation of this book a couple times before I come up with something that actually makes sense!

There are three characters - Andrew, Lara, and Jake, who all attended Princeton in the same year. Then there is an author, Horace Jacob Little, who is an enigma. No one knows what Little looks like, where he lives, or anything about him. Jake introduced Lara to the works of Little, who then introduced Little's novels to Andrew. Andrew becomes obsessive about Little and begins to think that Little is out to get him. Eventually, Andrew is admitted to the Muse Asylum - a psychiatric hospital for the artistically gifted. It is here that Andrew writes his biography and the details of the Horace Jacob Little conspiracy. Andrew believes that Horace Jacob Little was murdered and replaced with another equally gifted author who continued to write in his name. Now that Andrew knows this secret, he believes that Little seeks to kill him or at the very least drive him crazy.

When Jake meets up with Lara years after graduation, he learns about Andrew's admittance to the Muse Asylum. Jake is now a journalist and believes that this would make a good story. He visits Andrew and tries to understand Andrew's obsession. Jake also takes on the project of finding out who Horace Jacob Little actually is, and what, if anything, he has to hide.

Of course, with such a plot, it's obvious that there are going to be twists at the end. I would have been disappointed if there were not! Although I have to admit, this is the type of book that allows your imagination to run wild and I was coming up with some pretty crazy theories of how I thought the book was going to end.

The characters were very interesting. The book alternated between Jake's narrative and Andrew's confessions from his biography. Usually in novels about patients in psychiatric hospitals you only get an outsiders view. I really enjoyed getting the perspective from the character who is in the hospital.

I found it ironic that one of the first pages in the book was the author's biography while the book discusses how not knowing an author should make the experience with the novel truer.

Overall, an interesting and very unique novel. If you like novels that are a little off the wall and different from main stream stories, you would enjoy this.

I mailed this off this afternoon to ArabellaFigg.

Journal Entry 20 by ArabellaFigg from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Book arrived this morning, thankyou HoserLauren.

Journal Entry 21 by ArabellaFigg from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Sunday, April 06, 2008
The book wasn't really what I was expecting it to be like, but I still enjoyed it. I really liked the ending which left it open for you to decide what happened to the character.

Journal Entry 22 by Nell-Lu from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Saturday, April 12, 2008
The Muse Asylum just arrived. It's next up to be read; I've just started Lullabies for Little Criminals so will get onto this early next week. I'm looking forward to it!

Thanks SqueakyChu for starting the ray and ArabellaFigg for sending it on to me.

Journal Entry 23 by Nell-Lu from Edinburgh, Scotland United Kingdom on Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Is Horace Jacob Little a killer, a socially inept hermit, or something else? Czuchlewski ties up the plot neatly, but not definitively, leaving the reader to puzzle out the details. I was left thinking about the relationships between writers and readers and that between writers and their work, but the relationships between the three central characters are equally thought-provoking. This novel works because it is interesting on different levels, because it forces the reader to engage, and because the writing has a sparse beauty and clarity.

I still can't make posts longer than ~800 characters (forum thread) so I've put a full review on my blog instead.

I've got pinkydinky's address and have this all packaged up ready to put in tomorrow's post. Thanks again, SqueakyChu.

Journal Entry 24 by pinkydinky on Saturday, April 26, 2008
Received today. Thanks Nell-Lu for sending and squeakychu for sharing. Will read when I have finished my current book.

Journal Entry 25 by pinkydinky on Tuesday, May 06, 2008
A great book. Plenty of twists and turns.I liked the way that the whole story was gradually revealed. The part the autobiography played in the book was fantastic. Finishing in an open way that left you wanting more.

Finally got to the post office today. 12/05 on its way to snowshoee

Journal Entry 26 by Snowshoee from Moita, Setúbal Portugal on Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The book arrived today. Thanks pinkydinky!!

Journal Entry 27 by Snowshoee from Moita, Setúbal Portugal on Thursday, June 12, 2008
Finally I read the book and I really like it! I think all I can write here, was already written in the other journal entries! :)
Thanks SqueakyChu!!!

17.06.2008 - Sent to franaloe!!

Journal Entry 28 by franaloe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Saturday, June 28, 2008
Arrived today! Thanks for sharing. It might take a while for me to read, as I found 4 books blocking my door when coming back from holidays! However, I'm looking forward to reading it.

Journal Entry 29 by franaloe from Utrecht, Utrecht Netherlands on Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Nice book, especially if you consider it is a debut novel. I liked the ending: who was right about Horace Jacob Little, and what has really happened to Andrew?

I've sent the book on to LeishaCamden today. SqueakyChu, thanks for sharing!

Journal Entry 30 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Tuesday, July 29, 2008
This arrived in the mail from the Netherlands today. I haven't read the JEs yet, I want to read the book first. I did see that most of the readers so far have enjoyed the book a lot. I'm definitely looking forward to reading this one. :-)

I have some rings & rays in the house already (surprise surprise) but I'll get to this as soon as I can. I'll journal again when I've read the book.

Thanks for sharing, SqueakyChu, and thanks to everyone who's kept the ray moving!! :-)

Journal Entry 31 by LeishaCamden from Alna bydel, Oslo fylke Norway on Sunday, January 18, 2009
OMG ... !! I've been totally forgetting about this book!! I can't believe I've had it for this long!! :-o I'm so sorry for holding up the ray for so long - this book has been in a pile with other books where it absolutely didn't belong (I have a lot of piles of books around the house ...) and I've totally forgotten about it. I'm so sorry. :-(

Especially since I have already read the book, ages ago! I read it and then it ended up in that pile. So I have no excuse, really. :-( The book was very good, I liked it a lot - I'm not at all sure that I understood it, but I liked it. :-) The plot was fascinating, the characterization excellent, and I thought that the book was very well written. A captivating story, definitely. I agree with previous readers that the Andrew character's mental illness was described very credibly. The book as a whole seemed very well researched to me. Ie, the author seemed to really know what he was talking about. :-) His young age when this book was written makes it a very impressive literary feat IMO. I will definitely be reading more by this author if I get the chance. He has published one more book as far as I have been able to find out. I hope there will be many more - judging by this one he certainly has a great deal of talent.

I was thrilled to be able to take part in this bookray and I'm so sorry ... !! that I've held it up for this long. :-( I already have Haugtussa's address, so I'll be getting this in the mail this coming week. I hope you can forgive me, SqueakyChu ... !! :-(

Journal Entry 32 by LeishaCamden at sent by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Thursday, January 22, 2009

Released 10 yrs ago (1/22/2009 UTC) at sent by mail, A Bookray -- Controlled Releases

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The book's on its way to Haugtussa in Stavanger. Happy reading! (And again, I am so sorry about the delay ... !!)

Journal Entry 33 by wingHaugtussawing from Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway on Friday, January 23, 2009
The book arrived in Stavanger at a rather busy time of my life - but luckily nigths are meant for reading not sleeping!

Journal Entry 34 by wingHaugtussawing from Stavanger, Rogaland fylke Norway on Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Two children of my children have chicken pox and are at home, so to make some reading time I placed them in front of the telly! It worked, since I finished the book yesterday!

I really enjoyed this book, it was actually a bookray I had totally forgotten about. The plot and the characters captivated me. Like some of the previous readers have said, I thought Andy's illness was well described. I also really liked the idea of The Muse Asylum, what a wonderful place to recover from your illness.
Parts of the book (all the conspiracy theories, the paranoia that Andrew has) reminded me of A Beautiful Mind.

Thanks a lot for starting this ray and thus introducing me to yet another wonderful author, SqueakyChu.
I've already PM'ed the next reader and the book will be off as soon as I have the address:

Journal Entry 35 by iliotropio from Bruxelles / Brussel, Bruxelles / Brussel Belgium on Thursday, February 26, 2009
The book is now in Brussels. Thank you Haugtussa for sending it!

Journal Entry 36 by iliotropio from Bruxelles / Brussel, Bruxelles / Brussel Belgium on Thursday, May 14, 2009
I very much enjoyed reading this novel. It was witty, well written, with many (obvious and not so obvious) references to famous authors and their writings. O.K., maybe Czuchlewski is showing off a bit at times as he is obviously well-read and intelligent, but I think he has stories to tell so I´ll be waiting for his next book with interest.
On its way to arugh48187 (who now has a US address). Happy reading!

Journal Entry 37 by arugh48187 from Edina, Minnesota USA on Monday, May 18, 2009
This one has arrived in Apple Valley. It seems to be well travelled and well worn. I will read it gently. It is the only bookring I have at the moment, so it shouldn't take too long.

Journal Entry 38 by arugh48187 from Edina, Minnesota USA on Friday, July 17, 2009
Hmmmmm. This book was an interesting read. I neither disliked it nor liked it. I really did not relate or become attached to any of the characters, but wanted to find out what happened to them. Jake was the most likeable of the three main characters, and I was even ambivalent about him. I really like endings that make you wonder and this one will stick around in my mind for a while.

The book itself is in pretty bad shape; beyond repair. So I read it gently at home and didn't tote it everywhere like I normally do. I will gently put it in an envelope and pass it on to the next reader when I get an address. Thanks for sharing.

Journal Entry 39 by arugh48187 at Apple Valley, Minnesota USA on Monday, July 27, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (7/28/2009 UTC) at Apple Valley, Minnesota USA

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Mailed off to Pooker3 who is next on the list. Happy Reading!!!

Journal Entry 40 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Wednesday, August 05, 2009
Arrived in today's mail. Thanks arugh! My goodness, this book is becoming a little travel weary. I too shall treat it gently.

Journal Entry 41 by Pooker3 from Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Thursday, August 13, 2009
I rather like being down on the list of ring participants. It usually means that someone ahead of me has done a nice job (better than I could do) of summarizing the plot and I don't have to. Squeaky and HoserLauren among others have done that here, so I'm not gonna.

I will say that despite being attracted to the cover art (I even tried to read the pages of the "flying" book to see if I could figure out what book it was), this is not a novel that I would pick up on own. I realize I am going to sound entirely politically incorrect, but just the word asylum in the title and the synopsis on the back cover would tell me that this book is going to be about crazy people. I already have enough crazy people in my life to care about that I don't want to exhaust my sympathies on fictional ones. And, it's going to be one of those books of "psychological intrigue" that mess with my mind and I usually don't like it when an author messes with my mind.

This book did do that. As I was reading, I had all sorts of thoughts and suspicions about who was "real", who was "crazy" and who did what, when, how and why. To the point that I was wondering about my own paranoia!

Having said that though, I did really enjoy the book. While I won't go so far as to say I cared about the characters, I could relate to them and accept them, as they were presented, as believable.

It kept my interest throughout and I was not put off or disappointed in the ending. All in all I thought it a remarkable "first" novel.

Thanks SqueakyChu for including me in this ring and to all who preceded me for your comments. I have mrbaggins' address and will send it on.

I fear that this book's traveling days are numbered though. There are sections that have come away from the cover and I could feel pages loosening and letting go even as I ever so gently turned them. I found that the easiest way to read the book with least chance of further damage was to rest it on another open book.


One more thing:
Pssst, LeishaCamden, was that you? :)


Journal Entry 42 by Pooker3 at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada on Friday, August 14, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (8/14/2009 UTC) at Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

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In the mail to South Africa to mrbaggins1 today. It was a nice light package, so airmail was not too expensive. Hopefully it'll arrive soon mrb.

Journal Entry 43 by mrbaggins1 from Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Monday, September 28, 2009
Arrived today and this book is really falling apart. I'll see if it's possible to make some running repairs to it before I read it and send it on. Thanks for sharing. I have a couple before this so please bear with me!

ETA: I've repaired the book with contact plastic, book tape and wood glue and ALL the pages are now bound together again. I'm sure it should be good for another couple of releases

Journal Entry 44 by mrbaggins1 from Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Thursday, October 29, 2009
Just a quick note, the book is still with me and it's next up after the bookray that I'm currently reading.
LOL

Journal Entry 45 by mrbaggins1 from Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Sunday, November 08, 2009
Finished it in bed this morning on a lovely Sunday summer morning in South Africa. It was a great book, an interesting and unusual plot with an unexpected end. A lot of reviews has been written by previous journalers and I have little to add. I love well written descriptive sentences and there is a real gem in this novel:

"I am watching the sun decline toward the horizon, as it has done since the world was a newborn stone, devoid of atmosphere and sea. In the face of this timeless ritual, my own problems fade for a few seconds - as a flame flickers and almost goes out, but then roars back stronger than ever..."

Beautiful writing.

The repairs I've done to the book seems to have worked. It ain't pretty but it works. Its good for another few readers.

Thanks for sharing. Contacting the last in line to send it on

Journal Entry 46 by mrbaggins1 at Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa on Thursday, November 12, 2009

Released 9 yrs ago (11/12/2009 UTC) at Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa

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Released by surface mail today to katacs which is currently in Ireland. Hope the book arrives before you return to Hungary.

Thanks for sharing, it was a lovely read

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