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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  3,821 ratings  ·  408 reviews
From our most celebrated writer of the psychological thriller comes this nerve-wracking yet eerily beautiful work of erotic obsession and madness.

In the summer of 1959 Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting--a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a br
Paperback, Vintage Contemporaries, 254 pages
Published March 3rd 1998 by Vintage (first published 1996)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
It says on the back this book is a meditation on the nature of love. So, what is love? Love is when someone gently tugs this book out of your hands and says "you don't need to read this one, dear. All the quotes on the back were paid for. It's high class tripe."
Bark's Book Nonsense
This has been sitting on the bottom of a huge pile of books in my bedroom that topples over every time one of my dogs flops down for a nap. I'm getting sick of picking them up and will read them from the bottom up. It's like a Survivor Challenge as I wiggle out the bottom book without causing the whole lot to topple upon my head. I bought it five years ago at a library sale according to the withdrawn library stamp. Shameful.

Psychiatrist Peter Cleave tells a supposedly sordid tale of a former pat
♍ichael Ƒierce
Sep 21, 2013 ♍ichael Ƒierce rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Patrick McGrath
Recommended to ♍ichael Ƒierce by: long-ponytail-haired ex-employee of The Dark Carnival, Berkeley, CA
Shelves: gothic


I first discovered Patrick McGrath in 1988 with his often overlooked and under-appreciated short story collection, Blood and Water and Other Tales, and became a huge fan of his from then on.

In 1990, I read his best book to date, The Grotesque.

Both, are amazing pieces of Gothic fiction.

Back in those days it was very difficult to find quality writers following in the footsteps of Edgar Allan Poe, especially those who were able to make their own unique imprint and capable of breaking new ground.
La malìa di cui si parla in quarta di copertina, quella che rende la lettura facile e scorrevole, non sta tanto nell’incanto di un fattore perturbante che irretisce il lettore, bensì in uno stile piano, quello del narratore, che ci accompagna con destrezza lungo il sentiero di una discesa agli inferi. La storia, infatti, è quella di un “amore” morboso, tormentato, di ossessioni pericolose che tutto assorbono e annichiliscono. È il narratore a rendere il compito facile al lettore e a filtrare tan ...more
Sexual obsession, decapitation, enucleation, maternal filicide, psychological unraveling. Or what we call Thursday around here.

A psychiatrist's unhappy wife falls for an artist, institutionalized in a mental hospital for a gruesome murder. It goes without saying this will not end well.

The novel is certainly cinematic but is saved from being a shlock psychological thriller because its narrator is another psychiatrist who in one way or another is treating everyone else involved. So, it is inquisit
I don't think I would have ever read this if not for the fact that I saw it on Audible, read by Ian McKellan. How could I resist?

I kinda wish I had, though. Sir Ian's reading was great, don't get me wrong, and he was a perfect reader for the narrator of the story, but the story itself was just so... uneventful.

I thought that this was supposed to be a psychological thriller, but there was absolutely nothing thrilling about it. The narrator is a psychiatrist relating everything to the reader as
Vi siete immedesimati con la protagonista di questo libro?
La mia risposta è: dovreste stare in un ospedale psichiatrico, non qui.
Non vi siete immedesimati? Allora avete potuto assistere, senza coinvolgimenti di sorta, alla bella e tormentata storia narrata in "Follia".
Sì, meglio così.
Perché l'autore, tale Patrick McGrath, riesce in modo notevole a declinare, attraverso un romanzo sapientemente cadenzato nei ritmi, tutte le caratteristiche insite in quelle sei lettere del titolo: F-o-l-l-i-a.
E l
Jenn Ravey
"Stella Raphael's story is one of the saddest I know," intones Dr. Peter Cleave, the senior psychiatrist in the mental hospital central to Asylum by Patrick McGrath. Asylum is a story of obsession.

Stella and her husband Max have moved outside London for Max's job. Hoping to eventually become superintendent of the facility, Max is quite involved in the asylum's day-to-day activities, and the couple's home is on the property. Max has big plans, including renovating the conservatory and gardens of
Anna Janelle
Where has this book/author been hiding all my life? Because I'm SERIOUSLY impressed. It's a rare book that makes you want to flip to the beginning IMMEDIATELY after finishing it for a second go-through, but I was tempted with "Asylum." It was that layered, that satisfying, that good. I'm only forgoing it to start Goodreads stalking the author for more books to add to my growing Better World Books order.

The book is a work of art, painted in cold, clinical strokes on an increasingly unreliable can
Rich Cresswell
I had already read one book by Patrick McGrath, The Grotesque, when I picked this one up. This book is more subtle and more beautiful in many ways. Told from the perspective of the main character's friend and eventual psychiatrist, it follows the arc of a desperate, obsessive love, and reactions to the loss of said love. McGrath's prose gives us a perfect window into the setting, mood, and overall feeling of each scene, all the while colored with the emotions of the narrator. It's a strange sort ...more
This book is totally pointless and depressing. The only thing going for the audio version is the narration by Sir Ian McKellan. There was not a single sympathetic or positive character, not much atmosphere or sense of place, and little motivation for some of the odder events. This book didn't teach me anything, didn't entertain me, and didn't inspire any insight or thinking on my part -- a total waste of time!
Asylum is almost old fashioned. It has a Gothic ring to it and although it is set in 1959, the setting feels a bit older. The plot starts out as a strange love story. The wife of the superintendent of a mental asylum falls for a charismatic schizophrenic artist who is clearly dangerous for all involved. Yet the tale is narrated by the artist's psychiatrist and while he starts out as a neutral narrator in a style that slightly mimics a clinical case study, we slowly discover that this may also be ...more

Stella mi disse di aver capito in quel momento che in ciascuno di noi c’è come l’anelito a gridare al mondo la verità, a qualsiasi costo. O a distruggersi.

La prima cosa che ho pensato terminata la lettura di questo romanzo è stata: Patrick McGrath mi ha presa per i fondelli per tutta la lettura. Insomma, o mi ha presa per i fondelli, o davvero questo romanzo ha venduto migliaia di copie imbastito con i migliori tessuti della fiera delle banalità. So che solitamente si inizia a parlare dall’inizi
Jonathan Briggs
Max Raphael is all set to take over the administration of a mental hospital when his wife, Stella, gets a look at Edgar Stark, one of the prize patients. He's dreamy, rugged, artistic. Everything that Max is not. So Edgar chopped his wife's head off, we all have our little quirks. Stella helps Edgar escape, and they're off to live like bohemians in London. But Stella discovers life in an artist's loft with a psychotic sculptor prone to violent fits of jealous rage isn't quite the domestic bliss ...more
I agree with some other comments, based on the jacket you are expecting a sordid tawdry story. In reality, the events are told with a clinical psychiatrist at the helm, describing the events of his patients life and downfall as he understands them. He does skip the juicy bits, so if you're looking for smutty you will be disappointed. Literally speaking I thought it was a very good book. The author has a wonderful command of the English language and with concise writing and the detachment (or not ...more
Scritto con maestria e con stile diretto e pulito, il racconto di Peter, Edgar, Stella e Max scorre come un fiume attraverso situazioni che cambieranno per sempre la natura del loro spirito.
I fatti si svolgono nell'Inghilterra del 1959. Peter è l'io narrante, uno psichiatra che lavora all'interno di un tetro manicomio criminale vittoriano e che comincia a raccontare, con apparente distacco, il caso clinico più perturbante che abbia incontrato in carriera.
In primo piano, l'evoluzione dei pensieri
Angus McKeogh
Pleasantly surprised. A psychological novel about a psychiatrist whose wife falls in love with a patient (and murderer) at an asylum. More than I expected.
Melissa Chung
I am rating this book 2.5 stars. Almost a 3 because I was desperate to read it to the end only to find out what happens.

This is described as a gothic horror, a romance, a mystery crime novel. I would categorize this book as a depressing book about obsession and selfishness.

The narrator of this book is a psychiatrist at a psychiatric hospital outside of London. His main patient is Edgar Stark a psychopath who murdered his wife with the delusion that she was being unfaithful, contrary to having an
Emma Darcy
Oh, Stella :/

The Next Day: This book is about how an emotionally vulnerable and alienated woman is so incredibly mishandled by all of the men in her life that everyone's lives are ruined. Seriously, Stella is pretty with it in the beginning, barring a cold marriage and a bit of a drinking problem from her isolation. But after entering a sexually obssessive affair with a mental patient who is an attractive but volatile paranoid, she is systematically abused and taken advantage of by every man she
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Un libro particolare: intenso, divorante, tragico, ossessivo, emozionante e coinvolgente. La scrittura di MacGrath è senza dubbio avvincente, intrigante, ben cadenzata e la storia nella sua drammaticità scorre velocemente. La Follia traspare dalle pagine in ogni riga, ma chi è il vero folle? Stella, la protagonista principale che diventa succube di un amore ossessivo? Edgar, amante già uxoricida e rinchiuso per questo nel manicomio criminale che manipola Stella ma che cade anche lui nel vortice ...more
Jul 17, 2013 Emily rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Emily by: feltre
"Απαγορευμένο πάθος" ή αλλιώς "Πώς να καταστραφείτε εύκολα και ανέξοδα".
Πολύ πάθος και πολλή εμμονή.
Ήσουνα κυρία μου με όλα σου τα καλά. Σύζυγος ψυχιάτρου με λαμπρή προοπτική να γίνει υποδιευθυντής. Είχες το παιδάκι σου, την ανυπόφορη πεθερούλα σου που σε επισκεπτόταν στη χάση και στη φέξη, την οικονομική σου άνεση, τα λούσα σου...
Τι τον ήθελες τον έρωτα με τον τρόφιμο του ψυχιατρείου; Μένει τίποτα κρυφό κάτω από τον ήλιο;
Και καλά. Έκανες ό,τι έκανες, δηλαδή το καταγλέντησες. Είδες και την άλλη
I saw the film first. Knew the book must be better. It was and yet, for all the acclaim, i didn't know the protagonist, Stella, very well or what motivated her. Perhaps that was the entire premise.

The story set in 1959-60. The wife of a 2nd in command psychiatrist at a English countryside mental hospital, falls in lust then love with one of the patients, an artist, confined for brutally murdering his wife.

The book/tale is told by a male, another psychiatrist at the hospital who is treating the
A VERY different sort of tragic love story. Though the setting is in the early 1960s, this tale has a true Victorian-Gothic feel to it. And the narration! How fascinating for the narrator to not have his own pull until the end of the book! That in and of itself makes the book cry for re-reading, for discussion - even for study. It's impossible to really understand the characters - the two main lovers - as their individual acts are horrific, but at the same time, horrifyingly fascinating.
I truly
Stella è la moglie annoiata e soffocata di uno psichiatra, relegata in un matrimonio ormai bianco. La sua vita e le sue giornate scorrono uguali e grigie nella villa acquistata in prossimità del manicomio criminale dove lavora Max, il marito. Improvvisamente qualcosa cambia: conosce Edgar, uno dei pazienti più enigmatici del manicomio, in cura da Peter, voce narrante del romanzo. Tra i due la passione scoppia incontenibile, incontrollabile, insana. Stella abbandonerà tutto e tutti, compreso il f ...more
Irene Carmina
Magnetico, incalzante, sensuale. Follia, nel titolo italiano, è un capolavoro di magnetismo: come Edgar per Stella, la follia d'amore incolla il lettore al libro con una suspence da giallo tutta incentrata sull'erotismo malato che anima i due protagonisti e sul desiderio inconscio di essere posseduti dal veleno dolce della passione. Quando lo lessi rimasi affascinata dalla sete di lettura che ha instillato in me questo libro. Non riuscivo a smettere di leggere.
Ancora una pagina, ancora una pagi
Started and finished this while I was away on vacation. I was so looking forward to this as an engrossing guilty pleasure but the writing and plot felt incredibly stale. This was completely do the the POV as the story was entirely told from the perspective of a psychiatrist from the hospital and not from one of the major characters. Having a story told to me as a recount of what someone else recounts to someone else (the woman telling the psychiatrist what occurred) was INCREDIBLY dull and took ...more
After seeing David Cronenberg's film of Patrick McGrath's 'Spider' (which I found quite stunning and unsettling), it had been in my mind to read something by the author...though not necessarily 'Spider'. I looked through McGrath's other works and settled on 'Asylum'.

It's a very well-written, cleverly constructed tale told by a psychologist, about a patient who is also a personal friend. It is a story of passion (not without echoes of both 'Lady Chatterley's Lover' and 'Therese Raquin', perhaps
The plot is crazy! The story seems realistic to the point where I was literally gasping because I always thought that Stella's life couldn't get any worse. I'm looking forward to reading other McGrath books soon.
Maria  (Scratchbook)
Di passione violenta è la dipendenza che si introduce furtivamente nel cuore di Stella, vittima inconsapevole di un uomo in apparenza razionale ed equilibrato.
Parlare d'amore è un azzardo però.
L'amore, quello vero, sottende una relazione tendenzialmente sana.

Versione completa qui: http://startfromscratchblog.blogspot....
Strawberry Fields
I expected this book to be in the genre of thriller/creepy mental hospital type thing. It wasn't at all.

The synopsis of the story focuses on a woman who is married to a psychiatrist. He is employed at a mental facility and they have a son. Basically the woman has pretty much nothing to do all day. The kid is either out playing or at school. They have a maid. They have a gardener. So, what is she supposed to do? Have an affair with the extremely disturbed gardener who also happens to be a patient
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Not a "real" novel 2 42 Aug 04, 2013 12:49AM  
An imaginary book? 1 20 Jun 24, 2009 09:37PM  
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Patrick McGrath was born on 7th February, 1950 in London and grew up near Broadmoor Hospital where his father was Medical Superintendent. He was educated at Stonyhurst College. He is a British novelist whose work has been categorized as gothic fiction. He is married to actress Maria Aitken and lives in New York City.
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“Stella realized then that Charlie's unhappiness had locked him out of this community as effectively as hers had, and she felt a dull sense of confirmation, she felt she might have known, this is the nature of people, they unerringly select as their victim the one who most needs their warmth.” 4 likes
“Aveva perso il controllo. Non si controlla un innamoramento, mi disse, non è possibile. E la divertiva che fosse potuto accadere in questo modo, con quest'uomo. Un paziente. Un paziente che lavorava nell'orto. Stella, le dissi, non potevi fare una scelta più scriteriata. La verità, mi rispose, è che non ho scelto affatto.” 2 likes
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