Monthly Archives: April 2015

#BookReview: Asylum by Patrick McGrath

Asylum
Asylum by Patrick McGrath
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was consumed by the first half of this book. I read 50% of it in 2 days, which is telling for me. I was drawn to the ambiguity of Edgar Stark’s mental illness. I felt, as Stella did, that maybe he didn’t actually belong in this well-known psychiatric hospital.

Stella is the wife of an up-and-coming psychiatrist (Max) in England in the late 1950s. They have a young son, Charlie. Stella doesn’t do much of anything, but it is implied that her life is rather ordinary, so it’s not as though she’s an anomaly. The family lives on the grounds of the aforementioned psychiatric hospital, which is how Stella and Edgar happen upon each other.

Given her nothing to do, and her unfortunate boredom with her husband, Stella forges a friendship with Edgar that quickly heats up into an insatiable love affair replete with clandestine meetings for sexual encounters, an attic space made up as romantic quarters for the two. Eventually, and questionably the end goal of his all along, Edgar’s proximity to the grounds’ keys allows him to escape. Soon after, Stella goes on a search for him.

The first half of the book is much more action than the second half. The second half descends into a languishing and constant ache. Madness consumes Stella and she turns into a painfully unlikable and constantly drunk character. Her life choices are bad, so bad. And all of this with a constant undertone of “Gosh I miss Edgar,” which, given how scary he had become, is annoying.

I both read the book and listened as I drove to work to the Audible counterpart. Sir Ian McKellen’s narration improved this book immensely. I recommend the listen if you’re compelled to read this book. I’m not sure I’d recommend it unless I knew someone who liked dry prose that oozed British through its pores.

View all my reviews

#BookReview: Yesterday’s Gone: Season One by @thedavidwwright and @seanplatt

Yesterday's Gone: Season One
Yesterday’s Gone: Season One by Sean Platt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

You woke up this morning and something seemed a little…. off. You didn’t hear the hum of the cable box or the little click the refrigerator would make every 15 seconds. Your cell phone didn’t charge up all the way.

Oh yeah.. And your family is gone.

What the hell is happening?

Well, this is the premise of Yesterday’s Gone by Sean Platt and David Wright, whose serialized hit turned into a novel. I both read the Kindle edition of this book and listened to the audiobook companion available at Audible.com.

There was an element of cliche with the some of the characters in this book. Boricio was the serial killer psychopath with an over-abundance of testosterone — say beer-battered bullshit just one more time. Luca was a saccharine sweet clairvoyant child whose metaphoric “sad spiders” thing irritated. Most of the characters were pretty original and solid, though.

So, anyway, back to the thick of it… This Season is the immediate aftermath of something that’s caused most people on the planet to disappear. Only a handful of people are left, and we see the survivors find each other. The story hops from person’s perspective to person’s perspective, infuriatingly when the story gets good, but that just kept me reading when I could and turning on the audiobook as soon as I got in my car every day.

This book really was overall very enjoyable. It is taking the long way around as far as character development and plot velocity, but as it was born for a serialized experience, it may just have a different feel in novel form.

I recommend this book for the consumption factor alone.

View all my reviews