Customer Reviews for

Asylum

Average Rating 4
( 41 )
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5 Star

(16)

4 Star

(14)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

An eloquent and quite amazing book

McGrath's prose is incredible; quiet, elegant and lovely, all the while relating a tale of horrible madness and misjudgement. This book floats along lovingly, wraping you up in the beauty of the words and the increasingly compeling mystery surrounding a beautiful woman ...
McGrath's prose is incredible; quiet, elegant and lovely, all the while relating a tale of horrible madness and misjudgement. This book floats along lovingly, wraping you up in the beauty of the words and the increasingly compeling mystery surrounding a beautiful woman (the wife of the deputy superintendant of an instutution for the criminally insane) and her sexual obsession with a dangerous patient. You experience all her feelings as she traps herself in her obsession, and horror and revulsion as the tragedies that inevitably are the result of such an obsession do in fact occur. McGrath has a real grasp of the female mind; a talent highly unusual for a male author. Asylum is literary psychological horror at it's best (the terms literary and horror usually being mutually exclusive). I just finished it for the second time and am still overwhelmed by the story, and the author's abilities. A must read. Period.

posted by Anonymous on May 25, 2004

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Most Helpful Critical Review

4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

slow paced but...

Asylum is a slow paced novel about the sexual obsessiveness of Stella and the consequences it has on the lives surrounding hers. I found I cared nothing for the characters and I very much disliked Stella, the main character. It's hard to care much about a book if you do...
Asylum is a slow paced novel about the sexual obsessiveness of Stella and the consequences it has on the lives surrounding hers. I found I cared nothing for the characters and I very much disliked Stella, the main character. It's hard to care much about a book if you don't like the people who inhabit it's pages. Asylum is a slow paced book with not much happening on the outside. The book follows more closely the happenings on the inside of the characters, what they are thinking and feeling emotionally. There are a couple of things about Asylum I like. One is the descriptive scenery, especially when Stella and her husband move to a country house in Wales. The other is when Stella goes to live with the escaped mental patient Edgar (who murdered his wife in a psychotic rampage) and he starts to turn on her. She starts to see the side of Edgar who is imbalanced and brutal and it gives the novel some much needed suspense. Will Stella survive Edgar's psychosis? Can she mend her marriage with Max? Will her 10 year old son Charlie forgive the mother who walked out on their family? This novel is about obsession, guilt, forgiveness and what it truly means to seek asylum.

posted by songcatchers on October 25, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2000

    worth checking out

    This book flowed a little too slow at times but the author's writing style was very good and that is what kept me reading. I get very tired of books which leave you wondering about vague aspects of the story where vital information seems to be missing and this book did not leave me with that dilemma. Not an exciting read but very consistent. Definitely deserves a try. The book is written from the point of view of a psychiatrist who is finally given some personal definition in the final chapter of the book which made the ending rewarding to me.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 24, 2013

    I really want to give this book the full five stars, but I feel

    I really want to give this book the full five stars, but I feel like there was a bit missing. The entire plot and concept of the story was great. It started off a bit slow and I wasn't too sure where it was gonna go during the first 10 pages but it definitely caught me by surprise. The story's about a psychiatrist who lives on campus at a large asylum for the mentally ill. His wife (Stella) grows fond of one of the asylum's patients (Edgar). The book has everything it it from love to sex and even a bit of tragic scenes and disputes that keep you hooked. (Spoiler alert coming up) The only reason I didn't give it the full 5 stars was because I thought the story would of been far more interesting if it gave more depth to the way that Stella tries to cope with her depression towards her son and her life. Other than that, excellent read and highly recommended to anyone looking for a great read that's a bit twisted.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 26, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Suspenseful Psychological Thriller

    This is my first time reading a Patrick McGrath story. It will not be my last. I don't know how I haven't come across his work before, and I feel I have to catch up on all that I've missed out on.

    Normally, I finish a book and immediately pronounce to myself whether it was good or bad, and then I'm off to the next selection from my burgeoning bookshelves. It's been awhile, however, since I closed the pages of a story and had to sit and reflect for a few moments afterwards. Without question, this was an excellent book, and I needed more time to think on the very nature behind the story, the characters, and events. Needless to say, I brooded and ruminated on the ending for quite some time.

    Asylum, by Patrick McGrath has done all of this. It has all the elements of a story that I like -- a haunting setting in the gloomy and sweeping English countryside, a dark love affair, secrets, and ambiguity.

    Stella is the mother of a young boy, Charlie and the wife of Max, an esteemed psychiatrist at a maximum-security institution for the criminally insane just outside of London, England, in the late 1950s. Her day to day life of wife and mother is mundane, and her husband really doesn't have the drive or passion to keep her interested. Only a few patients are granted access to the grounds around the house on the institution, to work on the garden or to redo the old conservatory, with a watchful group of staff nearby. Unbeknownst to all, though, Stella becomes the lover of an incredibly dangerous patient, Edgar. He's quite an artist, but he's also destructively jealous -- his unending stay in the institution was determined because he killed his wife in a brutal and mutilating manner, apparently because she was seeing other men. Stella, however, still finds herself uncontrollably drawn to him and caught up in the passion of this bizarre love.

    This is an absolutely fascinating story and it is incredibly written, told through the perspective of another doctor at the institution, the older and wiser Dr. Peter Cleave. I initially thought I wouldn't care for this character, but I ultimately found that not only was it necessary in order to describe a general understanding of the mind -- the breakdown of Stella, the depth of manipulation by Edgar, and the ultimate weaknesses of Stella's husband, but it also explained the neurosis and psychosis of the characters. The insight Dr. Cleave provided was so critical to understand how these fictionalized people became completely devoid of reality only to succumb to the obsession everyone represses -- the ability to become thoroughly self-obsessed, whether or not it destroys innocent lives.

    With Peter telling the story, in some scenes almost clinically, it created a much more haunting feel and I felt completely entrenched in the story. Several times it seemed to intensify so sadly and in such a disturbing nature, that I couldn't fathom it to turn more grim than it already was, but the author was able to continue down that path even further. Peter provides a trusting credibility that lends quite a bit to the pleasure that I had in the twists that occurred. I was mortified, angry, heartbroken, and completely engrossed in the story.

    Patrick McGrath has created a suspenseful psychological thriller of obsession with oneself. It is haunting and dark, deeply erotic in some scenes, and altogether disturbing. Highly recommended, and I will be on the lookout for more Patrick McGrath books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2014

    reading this book is like watching a movie, very fast pace and e

    reading this book is like watching a movie, very fast pace and easy to read. This would be a great movie to make if there isn't one already. Not a scary book, more passionate than scary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Omg

    The poor puppy! Your freaking me out! But its amazing!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    Am i crazy

    I always see things nobody believes me. i saw a monster and it tried to kill my sister and i tried to kill it but now everyone thinks i tried to kill my sister. Please i know there is someone that believes me. Help

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 18, 2011

    Well written

    I liked the sophistication of the prose used by the author. McGrath knows what to write and what to leave to the mind. I will see the movie soon and see it it lives up to my expectation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2005

    Wonderfully Written

    This book was very good¿.you can read this book in one sitting but I had papers, presentations, exams and work deadlines but it was a very good read. The author writes wonderfully. It was a breath of fresh air because lately I feel that so many writers use a formula in their writing.. He covers all points and bases you are not left wondering what happened to anyone. He covers very well the human relationships that we carry with one another. He brilliantly writes about what one is capable of when we are lonely. The ending was not likely at all though. The chance of that happening is a snowballs chance in hell HOWEVER with his writing you are still interested because you come to understand that it all comes down to loneliness with the characters in this book! This one is most def staying in my book collection¿This is not one of the best STORIES I have read but it is one of the best WRITTEN books I have read.. The man is brilliant!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2005

    Pretty good.

    I have truly mixed feelings for Asylum. I was hooked on it from the very beginning, and I was truly in awe of the intensity of Edgar and Stella's affair. Near the end I felt myself despairing. I found it hard to feel for any of the characters, but I felt that it was, overall, a good novel.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted July 8, 2014

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    Posted March 25, 2011

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    Posted August 21, 2011

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    Posted February 19, 2012

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    Posted April 10, 2009

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