The Muse Asylum
19 journalers for this copy...
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.
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.
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!
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!
I've PMd Scoobs for an address and will get it off soon.
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
sending off to cinnycat
delivery conf- 0306 3030 0002 5605 6915
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!
WILD RELEASE NOTES:
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!
Mailed this to HoserLauren today!
Customs Form #LCO13458917US
I'm looking forward to it, thank you! :)
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.
Thanks SqueakyChu for starting the ray and ArabellaFigg for sending it on to me.
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.
Finally got to the post office today. 12/05 on its way to snowshoee
17.06.2008 - Sent to franaloe!!
I've sent the book on to LeishaCamden today. SqueakyChu, thanks for sharing!
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!! :-)
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 ... !! :-(
CONTROLLED RELEASE NOTES:
The book's on its way to Haugtussa in Stavanger. Happy reading! (And again, I am so sorry about the delay ... !!)
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:
On its way to arugh48187 (who now has a US address). Happy reading!
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.
Mailed off to Pooker3 who is next on the list. Happy Reading!!!
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? :)
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.
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
"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..."
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
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