After something happened from her past, Edie has felt
disconnected from the world which makes her an
excellent "body" for the Elysian Society in THE
POSSESSIONS, the literary debut by Sara Flannery Murphy. .
Through this organization, people can visit with their
friends and loved ones. In essence, the bodies swallow a
pill, don something that belonged to the loved one and
become that "someone" for a session. Edie has worked as a
body for longer than anyone else. She doesn't develop
relationships with the others, in fact, her dealings with
colleagues are achingly awkward. She doesn't remember any
of her experiences as the dead people she possesses until
something, or someone, changes it all.
For someone so good at detachment, Edie falls hard for one
of her clients who comes to visit his wife who died under
suspicious circumstances. Lines blur between Edie and the
wife, and she finds herself remembering events from a past
she never experienced. She becomes obsessed with the
couple's relationship. Does she want to take the wife's
place? Does the wife want hers?
A murdered girl, Edie's obsession, love, possession and
mystery all have roles in this drama.
I'd call this book literary fiction with elements of the
paranormal, and I enjoyed it, but it was one of those books
that I breezed through while reading it, but once set down,
it didn't call to me to return to it. Murphy's characters
intrigued, especially Edie, but I kept wanting to know what
had happened earlier in her life and found the book slow in
Murphy does a nice job of heightening the drama as a couple
of plot lines weave and twist together coming to an
unexpected conclusion. Most of my questions received
answers by the end. Murphy has a talent for language,
stringing words together with intelligence and flow. I look
forward to reading more work from this interesting author.
In this electrifying literary debut, a young woman who
channels the dead for a living crosses a dangerous line when
she falls in love with one of her clients, whose wife died
under mysterious circumstances.
In an unnamed city, Eurydice works for the Elysian Society,
a private service that allows grieving clients to reconnect
with lost loved ones. She and her fellow workers, known as
"bodies", wear the discarded belongings of the dead and
swallow pills called lotuses to summon their spirits—numbing
their own minds and losing themselves in the process. Edie
has been a body at the Elysian Society for five years, an
unusual record. Her success is the result of careful
detachment: she seeks refuge in the lotuses’ anesthetic
effects and distances herself from making personal
connections with her clients.
But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent
widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the
glamorous couple. Despite the murky circumstances
surrounding Sylvia’s drowning, Edie breaks her own rules and
pursues Patrick, moving deeper into his life and summoning
Sylvia outside the Elysian Society’s walls.
After years of hiding beneath the lotuses’ dulling effect,
Edie discovers that the lines between her own desires and
those of Sylvia have begun to blur, and takes increasing
risks to keep Patrick within her grasp. Suddenly, she finds
her quiet life unraveling as she grapples not only with
Sylvia’s growing influence and the questions surrounding her
death, but with her own long-buried secrets.
A tale of desire and obsession, deceit and dark secrets that
defies easy categorization, The Possessions is a
seductive, absorbing page-turner that builds to a
shattering, unforgettable conclusion.