Wednesday, March 01, 2017

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy

The Possessions by Sara Flannery Murphy is yet another book that I found hard to get through but, like other recent reads, I think part of the fault lies in the fact that I'm just a little slumpy and having trouble finding the perfect books to get me over the hump.

Eurydice works for The Elysian Society. Her job is channeling the spirits of deceased loved ones. In her uniform - a sheer, white dress - and items that belonged to the deceased, Eurydice (also known as "Edie") speaks softly to those who are hurting and then takes a small, white pill called a Lotus. The Lotus allows her to step aside while the spirit steps forward and speaks to the living. But, there's an inherent danger in letting someone's spirit take over your body and The Elysian Society has tight rules to prevent such dangers. The distribution of Lotuses is strictly controlled and contact with certain types of spirits is forbidden.

When Eurydice finds herself drawn to a client whose wife drowned and another client tries to get Edie to channel a girl who was murdered, Eurydice begins to put her life in danger. How far will she go to find answers about whether or not her client killed his wife? Is she willing to give up her body to someone else in a way that's forbidden? What happened to the murdered girl and was she connected to The Elysian Society?

The Possessions is a very moody, atmospheric book and I loved it for that, although I did find it a bit slow. Again, it was almost undoubtedly partly my own mood that made the book drag, but I think there was also a deliberate slow build. And, I was definitely anxious about what was going to happen to Eurydice, as I was reading.

Recommended but not a favorite - What I liked best about The Possessions was its uniqueness. I've never read anything quite like it. Not only the idea of channeling, but the concept of a world in which it's common, made it an unusual story. But, there were some little things that gnawed at me. Eventually, you begin to understand why Eurydice (whose real name you never know) is willing to even allow her body to be taken over; the kind of people willing to do such a thing have something in common. But, her secret reasoning for becoming a "body" didn't seem all that plausible to me - at least, the medical portion of it. I did like the ending a lot. But, the overall effect fell flat. Still, the author deserves kudos for the uniqueness of her storyline and the writing is solid. I particularly recommend The Possessions to anyone looking for an atmospheric, unusual read.

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  1. Well, that cover and the premise intrigue me but I'm not sure if the inplausabilities would bug me or not. I hate when I'm struggling through a good book. I never know if it's my mood or the book that's falling flat. Sigh!

    1. The implausible bit (at least, I found it implausible) was minor, although there was quite a bit of hinting at it, so I just felt it was a bit anti-climactic. I can't say whether you'd like it or not. You're kind of inscrutable! But, I don't regret reading it. I did enjoy the uniqueness of it and the writing is good.


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