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Love in the Asylum: A Novel Paperback – April 12, 2005


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Love in the Asylum: A Novel + Every Visible Thing: A Novel + In the Country of the Young
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (April 12, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060937432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060937430
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,536,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Carey, author of In the Country of the Young (2000), again astutely blends realism and magic in this tale of two patients in an upscale Maine rehab center. Alba, 25, has been admitted yearly for 10 years and is currently diagnosed with panic disorder. When Oscar is admitted, they bond immediately, each sensing the possibility of something positive in their lives. Alba then discovers letters written by a patient in the 1930s that were never mailed. The woman, part Abenaki Indian, was a "healer," and her seizures gave her abusive husband the grounds to have her committed. Alba becomes obsessed with the letters this woman wrote to her son up until her death in 1942, and enlists Oscar's help in delivering them to their intended recipient. Like Alba, the reader is moved by the woman's heart-wrenching story of her ability to enter "into the world of souls," and how she was unjustly taken from her children. Although one plot element is resolved a bit too conveniently, this is a haunting and mystical tale. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“A sensitive effort from a talented writer.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“Touching [and] multilayered.” (BookPage)

“Carey is skilled at weaving the disparate elements of the narrative together to reach a satisfying ... resolution....recommended.” (Library Journal)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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See all 13 customer reviews
This is a LOVELY book.
Lyz
I was pleasantly surprised by Lisa Carey's beautiful writing style; it is fully descriptive, yet to-the-point.
Kristen C. Hors
It will capture your attention right away and you will not be able to put it down.
daisydookes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on May 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Love is a complicated thing. It is complicated enough without the added stresses of extreme factors such as mental or physical illness, drug addiction or a difficult childhood. But as Lisa Carey demonstrates in her latest novel, LOVE IN THE ASYLUM, love happens and flourishes regardless of such circumstances. And sometimes love grows in the most unlikely of places.
Alba Elliot, a children's author, has been suffering with debilitating mental illness for the past ten years. She has been in and out of the Abenaki Mental Hospital all of that time. Cool and jaded, masking a deep sadness and loss, Alba feels comfortable in the walls and on the lawns of Abenaki. When heroin addict Oscar Jameson is admitted to the drug rehab unit, Alba's comfort is challenged. The attraction between the two is almost instantaneous, but neither is prepared emotionally for what they are feeling. Thirty-year-old Oscar is detoxing and is not convinced rehab is the place for him or that he is finally done with drugs. He is fascinated by Alba but still preoccupied with drugs and his own issues, not in the least his troubled relationship with his brother. Alba likes Oscar but hates the fact that he is a junkie. Both have a complicated past that colors all they do and feel in the present. Still, on the lawn of Abenaki, something is developing between them.
Around the time Oscar is checked into Abenaki, Alba, while working in the hospital library, comes across a series of letters from a woman who was a patient to her young son. In the 1930s Mary Doherty was put in the hospital by her husband, and there she remained until she died almost ten years later. She was accused of hysteria, of setting fires and believing herself to be a powerful healer in touch with the realm of the dead.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Irish TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 20, 2008
Format: Paperback
If you like Jodi Piccoult you'll probably like this author. Love in the Asylum weaves the past and present together to create a good story with a twist of intrigue as letters are found from a former asylum patient by a current patient.

The story traces the relationship between two patients one of whom has found letters from the past written in the backs of library books. The story bounces between all three characters and tells of their backgrounds and trials.

It's a quick read with enough twists to keep you interested and entertained. Some contest, naturally, was depressing, but the book keeps perspective and forward momentum.

It's not too light, but it's not overwhelmingly sad. The character of Oscar adds levity. I enjoyed the dialogue which doesn't get hung up on "he said, she said," and pushes the story along.

The use of asylum reports and patient information was a great way to document the details of the treatment and diagnosis of the patients. I found these a very interesting part of the novel.

There are a lot of interesting developments and the typical mental institution story is told in a fresh way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elaine VINE VOICE on February 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this author and really enjoyed this book about an unlikely couple battling individual demons. I have since read several of her works and recommend them as well.
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Format: Paperback
I picked this book on a whim while I was out and fell in love with it. Carey's style is beautiful; her word use amazing. Yet, she doesn't circle around the point, but keeps it straight forward and flowing smoothly. I loved the interaction between Alba and Oscar and the interspersing of letters from "Mary," along with the hospital paperwork.

If you enjoyed Girl, Interrupted, this book is definitely worth looking into.
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Format: Paperback
"Love in the Asylum" is a story of hope. Hope for the "lost souls" of our world who, even at the very lowest points in their lives feel there must be something better; must be an answer to it all. These are the true survivors. Lisa Carey has defined her characters with such clarity it feels as though I know them myself. I would recommend this book to readers who are fascinated with the inner workings of the human mind.
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By Lyz on January 4, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is a LOVELY book. LOVELY. LOVELY. LOVELY. It felt different from other books b/c you are allowed inside the minds of the 2 main (and suffering) characters. You feel the sarcastic way they view their plights. You feel their hunger/frustration/desires. They belong to you. No need to go into all of the details of this beautiful story. Just know that it IS a beautiful story. A story of hope.
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By Nikki on February 24, 2011
Format: Paperback
I actually picked this book up on a bargain table at Mr.Paperback.The 4.98 price sticker was covering the name of the book but I read the back cover and the picture was interesting. Ha ha I would of never picked the book up if I saw the title / but I am so glad I did. Was an interesting surprise that it was set in Maine. Was a good read and would recommend it just ignore the title :D
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