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Julia Mass Market Paperback – July 5, 2000

3.6 out of 5 stars 25 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


--Chicago Tribune

--Pittsburgh Press

"I haven't read anything that so terrifyingly evoked the presence of evil and supernatural threat since The Exorcist. JULIA may be better."
--Buffalo News

   Author of Psycho

From the Inside Flap

In a house in London a woman starts a new life, trying to put tragedy behind her. Then a pretty blonde child runs into view, bringing with her an inexplicable suggestion of evil.

Once Julia Lofting had a husband and a daughter. But everything has changed since she bolted from her marriage, in flight from the unbearable truth of her daughter's death. For Julia, there is no escape. Another child awaits, another mother suffers, and a circle of the damned gathers around her. The haunting has begun . . .


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (July 5, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345438655
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345438652
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.9 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,073,583 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
Straub, an American, does an astonishing job of conveying British culture and scenery in this novel. This is perhaps his greatest strength as a novelist, as similarly and yet so differently achieved in other novels, such as Shadowland and If You Could See Me Now.
This novel opens with the protagonist, Julia Lofting, an American heiress, impulsively purchasing a fading mansion. We learn she has just been released from a mental institution proceeding the untimely and accidental death of her daughter. As tormented as she is by the death, Julia realizes it has finally broken the spell of enchantment of her domineering and brutal husband. She feels the purchase of the mansion, where she plans to live alone and reevaluate her life and its direction, will symbolically mark her first step down the road of independence and personal will.
Ironically, it is the house which chooses her for its own expression of will. Julia runs into an eerie little girl in the park across the way who bears an uncanny resemblance to her own daughter. However, unlike her own sweet child, this girl is prone to mutilating small animals and terrorizing the other children of the park. Soon, the malevolent girl begins to appear in the bizarre black and red mirrors of the upper floors of the mansion.
As a reader, we are uncertain at this point whether the sightings are strictly the hallucinations of a distraught and nervous woman, the spectre of her daughter come to haunt her or some demon, eminating from the mansion, toying with her. The rest of the novel delivers the answer in a tense and unrelenting series of climactic events.
The characterizations and conspiring of the characters puts one in mind of Iris Murdoch.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One summer day, Julia Lofting buys a lovely home in a quiet street on the fashionable borough of Kensington, in London. This is the first house she sees, so it's rather hasty, isn't it? However, who could blame her?
In Julia Lofting, Straub gives the first foray on the exquisite architecture of characters that has been a trademark of his craft. Julia, in a way, opens the path for other memorable Straub women, like Alma Mobley (in "Ghost Story"), Laura Allbee and Patsy McCloud (in "Floating Dragon"), Sarah Spence (in "Mystery") and more clearly, Nora Chancel (of "The Hellfire Club"), who in more ways than one seems a sister entity to Julia.
Too wealthy for her own good, Julia is a troubled soul who seems to solve every situation by fleeing. She fled America for England, then she fled an unbearable freedom for marriage to charismatic yet voracious Magnus Lofting, a barrister with a name but no money and a few secrets in his past, then, she fled in tragedy and grief that marriage and an unhappy household in search for solace and the freedom she shunned, but in this lovely Georgian house, Julia finds she won't be able to run anymore, but rather will have to face multiple ghosts, from within and from the past.
Perfectly written, well settled, with an unforgettable climax, "Julia" is Straub's first foray into the supernatural and it suceeds where other novels merely tried.
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It's hard to sympathize with a character who seems as bent on her own destruction as the title character in Peter Straub's "Julia." The story opens with rich, harmless, and seemingly brainless, Julia Lofting in the process of leaving her brutal, domineering husband Magnus (With a name like that you'd hardly expect him to be the timid, sensitive type.) after the death of their daughter in a dining room tracheotomy gone wrong.
Understandably distraught, she buys a stupendous, eight-bedroom house in London. No sooner does she gain possession of the keys than she spots a little girl who reminds her of her own dead daughter, and becomes obsessed with this child who, we subsequently learn, makes The Bad Seed look like Anne of Green Gables.
Julia's new home, once the scene of a horrific murder, starts manifesting curious occurrences right away. The depiction of the haunting is genuinely frightening and ambiguous. The way that Straub upends the cliché of the cold that traditionally accompanies ghostly visitations was particularly effective in that it gave the house an oppressive, soporific atmosphere that almost (but not quite) explained Julia's inertia.
Although this multi million heiress experiences a plethora of weird phenomena including ghostly voices, regular sightings of that god awful little girl, and a the death of a psychic friend, she resolutely stays in that wretched house. It all ends badly, as these things invariably do. Alas, it also ends in total confusion.
Perhaps it was Mr. Straub's intention that we should share Julia's growing disorientation. If so, success was his. By the end of the story I wasn't sure of what was going on. There was no resolution of things that had gone before.
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