The Possessions by Sara Flanary Murphy
The Possessions. Finished 3-1-17, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 368 pages, pub. 2017
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. from Goodreads
What started slow, but interesting, gained strength as we neared the midway point and finished with and acceptable end. Because there was no place or even time frame given to the novel it had a dystopian feel, even though society was operating just as it does today. The story without context and the protagonist who kept us at arm’s length left the story in some parallel universe where the only thing different is that ‘bodies’ like Edie could open themselves up to spirits beyond the grave so that loved ones could continue to have a relationship with the deceased.
Creepy. The whole book was creepy, but not in a bad way. The idea of renting a body to talk to a lost loved one (think séance without the candles or theatrics) was new and the Elysian Society seemed like a well run operation. Edie, one of the longer serving bodies was a blank slate for the bereaved and the reader. Until the end you really had no idea who she was, where she came from or what she was capable of and by then it was almost too late to care much.
I liked it because it was different and the concept was a fun one to ponder. There were enough subplots to keep the story moving and at least one character I ended up caring about more than Edie. But there were some issues too, the slow start being one.
I thought this was a solid debut and very different. Kudos to Murphy for bringing something new to the table.
Thank you to TLC Tours for the allowing me to be a part of this tour and sending the book to me. Here are the other stops if you’re interested in checking them out.