The Possessions

The Possessions

3.18 (4,299 ratings by Goodreads)

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Who will prevail - the woman or the ghost?

For five years Edie has worked for the Elysian Society, a secretive organisation that provides a very specialised service: its clients come to reconnect with their dead loved ones by channelling them through living 'Bodies'. Edie is one such Body, perhaps the best in the team, renowned for her professionalism and discretion.

But everything changes when Patrick, a distraught husband, comes to look for traces of his drowned wife in Edie. The more time that Edie spends as the glamorous, enigmatic Sylvia, the closer she comes to falling in love with Patrick. And the more mysterious the circumstances around Sylvia's death appear.

As Edie falls under Sylvia's spell, she must discover not only the couple's darkest secrets, but also her own long-buried memories and desires - before it's too late.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 135 x 210 x 32mm | 495g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 191134403X
  • 9781911344032
  • 759,699

Review quote

'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 melange 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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About Sara Flannery Murphy

Sara Flannery Murphy was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, and raised there and in the Ozarks. Murphy received her MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St Louis. She later attended the University of British Columbia with a focus on library science. Murphy currently lives in an Oklahoma college town with her husband and son. Her shorter work has appeared in journals including Storyglossia and Tammy. The Possessions is her first novel.
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Rating details

4,299 ratings
3.18 out of 5 stars
5 8% (344)
4 27% (1,169)
3 44% (1,872)
2 17% (745)
1 4% (169)
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