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The Possessions Hardcover – 9 Mar 2017

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribe UK (9 Mar. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 191134403X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911344032
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.2 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'An enthralling meditation on grief and memory cloaked in suspenseful psychodrama, 'The Possessions' dissolves the boundaries of past and present and artfully, heartbreakingly maps the consequences of transgressive desire. Sara Flannery Murphy has written the best kind of ghost story.' --Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire

'Sara Flannery Murphy casts a spell as devilish and dazzling as the language she uses to cast it. Once you enter the erotically charged, psychologically gripping world of her debut novel, 'The Possessions', there is, truly, no going back or getting out.' --Kathryn Davis , author of Duplex: A Novel

'There are echoes of 'Vertigo' and 'Eyes Wide Shut' in this psychological slow burner about a secret organisation that channels the spirit of its clients' dead loved ones. It's strange, suspenseful, and surprisingly sexy.' --Marie Claire

Review

‘Sara Flannery Murphy unspools a creepingly clever ghost story that encompasses thriller, horror and literary fiction with seductive swagger …  you’re delivered into an entirely compelling world with all the intoxicating imagination and white-knuckle plotting of high-Victorian sensation fiction … The Possessions is a simmering gothic joy.’

(Sarah Ditum The Guardian)

‘With a plot that races along, this is an imaginative and seductive supernatural novel that examines love, loss and terrifying obsession.’

(Daily Mail)

‘An enthralling meditation on grief and memory cloaked in suspenseful psychodrama, The Possessions dissolves the boundaries of past and present and artfully, heartbreakingly maps the consequences of transgressive desire. Sara Flannery Murphy has written the best kind of ghost story.’

(Robin Wasserman, author of Girls on Fire)

'A beautifully imagined mélange of thriller, dystopia and interrogation of grief.'

(Cathy Rentzenbrink Stylist)

‘Themes of obsession, possession, death and spiritualism are central to the novel, and Murphy handles the ethical dilemmas skillfully, in a way that lets the reader ponder them too … Murphy offers a perceptive view of tough subjects without ever preaching. Her debut is the story of a telltale heart that keeps its secrets close.’

(Sarah Gilmartin The Irish Times)

The Possessions might be the most affecting, riveting novel about love and obsession I’ve read in a decade. Sara Flannery Murphy possesses the dystopian imagination of Margaret Atwood and the keen feminist incisiveness of Heidi Julavits, but the haunting, seductive prose is all her own. This is a literary ghost story for a whole new generation.’

(Christopher Bollen, author of Orient)

‘Murphy’s writing is sharp and well-crafted … The Possessions is a haunting and brilliantly written thriller which raises questions about the boundaries between grief and obsession. People who enjoy offbeat fiction with a touch of supernatural will enjoy this book.’

(Rabeea Saleem Culturefly)

‘A more-than-slightly-spooky tale of spiritualists and sexual obsession.’

(The Irish Times)

‘A literary descendant of the iconic novels Rebecca and Never Let Me Go, Sara Flannery Murphy's haunting, auspicious debut explores the enduring nature of grief and guilt and the myriad ways the uses of the body can stave off the loneliness of the soul.’

(Helen Schulman, author of This Beautiful Life)

‘I was totally immersed in the strange, beautiful world of Sara Flannery Murphy’s The Possessions. A gripping, chilling read that's part love story, part mystery, and completely original, it’s sensuous, scary, and utterly thrilling. I've never read anything quite like it.’

(Anton DiSclafani, author of The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls)

‘Sara Flannery Murphy casts a spell as devilish and dazzling as the language she uses to cast it. Once you enter the erotically charged, psychologically gripping world of her debut novel, The Possessions, there is, truly, no going back or getting out.’

(Kathryn Davis author of Duplex: A Novel)

‘A tale about connecting with the dead that is a guaranteed page-turner.’

(Elle)

‘A creepy mystery about a woman who channels the spirit of the dead to allow the bereaved to reconnect with loved ones ... and is sucked deep into a spooky netherworld of obsession and desire.’

(Metro)

‘As well as being a supernatural tale, brilliantly evoking a time not quite our own but almost, The Possessions is a meditation on love, obsession and grief.  In an almost Kafka-esque world, Sara Flannery Murphy's subtle, spare, and poised writing creates a gripping sense of threat that makes the book compelling reading.’

(Lucy Jago author of Montacute House)

‘A beautifully rendered, haunting page-turner.’

(Publishers Weekly)

‘Sublime ... Immersive from page 1 ... A complex novel that is both unforgettable and impossible to put down.’

(Booklist (starred review))

‘There are echoes of Vertigo and Eyes Wide Shut in this psychological slow burner about a secret organisation that channels the spirit of its clients' dead loved ones. It's strange, suspenseful, and surprisingly sexy.’

(Marie Claire)

'Highly original ... [The Possessions] is like entering a mysterious other world where nothing is quite as it seems.' (New Books)

‘[S]upernatural romance that thrives on imaginative world-building.‘

(The Saturday Age)

‘Creepy, chilling, compelling.’

(Red)

‘I absolutely LOVED The Possessions. Sara Flannery Murphy's writing is truly beautiful and her debut novel is astonishing ― this is a love story, a literary thriller, a ghost story and a work of speculative fiction all at once-dazzlingly original and unforgettable.’

(Helen Waterstones)

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Four or five times every day, Edie is a dead woman.

Known more formally as Eurydice, she works in Room 12 at the Elysian Society, an organisation staffed by mediums, or ‘bodies’. The bodies - recruited mostly from young drifters - go barefoot, dress in thin white clothing and take a drug called lotus which seemingly allows them to successfully channel their clients’ deceased loved ones. The Elysian Society, situated in a ‘limbo of a neighbourhood’, has been set up to bring a spurious legitimacy to the practice of drug-fuelled spiritualism. Presiding over these sexualised seance sessions is the madam-like figure of Mrs Renard.

Edie has been a body, an empty vessel, emotionally lifeless, for five years, using the job to escape herself and some tragedy in her past. Then into the Elysian Society walks handsome lawyer Patrick Braddock. His beautiful wife Sylvia has drowned in mysterious circumstances and he is desperate to reconnect with her. Edie’s attraction to Patrick means that she becomes ever more willing to be possessed by Sylvia, become the object of Patrick’s desire, and perhaps, in so doing, revive herself. A twisted, mordant affair ensues that blurs the lines between love, prostitution and necrophilia.

Set in a colourless, vaguely run-down and at times sleazy world at one remove from our own, ‘The Possessions’ is itself inhabited by the ghosts of many other novels: ‘Rebecca’, the peerless ‘Never Let Me Go’, and in its story of a past love vainly and dangerously re-animated, even ‘The Great Gatsby’. Hitchcock’s ‘Vertigo’ also haunts its pages.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A great read for those who like a bit of thriller, a bit of supernatural, a bit of love story and excellent characterisation
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A page turner and a really interesting mix of genres too: part noir crime thriller, part ghost story, with a speculative premise that's pretty cool...
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Format: Hardcover
I loved every page of Sara Flannery Murphy's first novel The Possessions. The front cover is gorgeous. I can tell you that I had an obsession of my own I couldn't put this book down. What kept me turning the pages was how beautiful the sentences were written with a fresh different idea for a novel. I can see why Sara Flannery Murphy received an MFA in Creative Writing. If anyone has ever tried to write a novel, they will know how hard it is. I will treasure my book in my book case.
The Possessions Is a thriller, ghost story and a study of sexual obsession that will haunt you long after you turn the last page. For five years Edie has worked for the Elysian Society, a secret organisation that provides a very special service. The Society's clients pay to reconnect with their dead loved ones by channelling them through living bodies. A few lines from the book. I can feel it. Little flashes of strangeness, stepping outside myself. It happens when I'm waking or falling into sleep, when I'm performing a mindless task that doesn't require my attention. A disorientation that renders all my surroundings suddenly too vivid, as if I'm looking around at a new landscape. I highly recommend reading The Possessions.
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Format: Audio CD
Favorite Quotes:

The sensation is as unsurprising now as drawing a breath or falling asleep. A numbness spreads across the body, the blood growing sluggish. The eyelids turn weighted. The body is rearranging itself to make room, my consciousness rising and scattering like wary birds sensing an unknown presence.

The sensation of Sylvia’s presence is there and gone, like catching a shadowy movement from the corner of my eye. I’m brushing my teeth. I blink, and my reflection is a stranger’s; blink again and I’m myself.

We stare at each other. My gaze is twice as dense as his. It’s the unevenness of a roomful of people staring at one subject. He must sense it too; he breaks eye contact to look at the floor.

We met when we were both roughened and torn, our hearts tattered enough to snag on each other’s.

My Review:

Edie is employed as a conduit or “body” for channeling the dead for those seeking closure as they mourn their lost loved ones. There are strict rules at the Elysian Society, the agency where she worked, rules Edie had never considered breaking, until recently. The plot was unique, ingenious, and perfectly crafted. The writing was exquisitely detailed, richly textured, vibrantly alluring, and fiercely enthralling. Written from a first person POV, the narrative was smoothly polished and intensely compelling. I was transported and firmly implanted in Edie’s body, or maybe I was channeling her? I believed I even felt her woozy sensations from the effects of her trance-inducing medication. Ms. Murphy has deftly produced not one but three gripping mysteries in a book packed with intriguing characters and a smartly written and pulsating storyline.
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