Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski

The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski

This one is a tough one to explain. I will probably have to re-write my explanation of this book a couple times before I come up with something that actually makes sense!

There are three characters - Andrew, Lara, and Jake, who all attended Princeton in the same year. Then there is an author, Horace Jacob Little, who is an enigma. No one knows what Little looks like, where he lives, or anything about him. Jake introduced Lara to the works of Little, who then introduced Little's novels to Andrew. Andrew becomes obsessive about Little and begins to think that Little is out to get him. Eventually, Andrew is admitted to the Muse Asylum - a psychiatric hospital for the artistically gifted. It is here that Andrew writes his biography and the details of the Horace Jacob Little conspiracy. Andrew believes that Horace Jacob Little was murdered and replaced with another equally gifted author who continued to write in his name. Now that Andrew knows this secret, he believes that Little seeks to kill him or at the very least drive him crazy.

When Jake meets up with Lara years after graduation, he learns about Andrew's admittance to the Muse Asylum. Jake is now a journalist and believes that this would make a good story. He visits Andrew and tries to understand Andrew's obsession. Jake also takes on the project of finding out who Horace Jacob Little actually is, and what, if anything, he has to hide.

Of course, with such a plot, it's obvious that there are going to be twists at the end. I would have been disappointed if there were not! Although I have to admit, this is the type of book that allows your imagination to run wild and I was coming up with some pretty crazy theories of how I thought the book was going to end.

The characters were very interesting. The book alternated between Jake's narrative and Andrew's confessions from his biography. Usually in novels about patients in psychiatric hospitals you only get an outsiders view. I really enjoyed getting the perspective from the character who is in the hospital.

I found it ironic that one of the first pages in the book was the author's biography while the book discusses how not knowing an author should make the experience with the novel truer.

Overall, an interesting and very unique novel. If you like novels that are a little off the wall and different from main stream stories, you would enjoy this.



1 comment:

Jeane said...

This sounds like a confusing and interesting book! I'm considering it.