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Die Anstalt

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  8,954 ratings  ·  700 reviews
Vor zwanzig Jahren, als junger Mann, ist Francis Petrel gegen seinen Willen in eine psychiatrische Klinik eingewiesen worden. Mehrere Jahre hat er dort zugebracht - bis die Anstalt nach einer Mordserie geschlossen wurde. Noch immer hört Francis Stimmen, nimmt Medikamente. Die Erinnerung an die traumatischen Geschehnisse von damals ängstigt ihn, und er beginnt aufzuschreibe ...more
Paperback, 749 pages
Published 2006 by Knaur (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  8,954 ratings  ·  700 reviews

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Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started off really promising, and I really wanted to enjoy it more than I did, but by the end it was dragging along soooo slowly that it was annoying to read and I really had to slog through to finish it. The characters started to feel forced, and the villain at the end just didn't satisfy me - it felt hollow when it was all over. Plus there is some serious overwriting, where something could be said in a brief sentence but goes on in flowery paragraphs full of metaphors. I would like this b ...more
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well worth the accolades, awards and the time it takes to get through 576 pages. I selected this book based on the setting, after all asylums are atmospheric enough to do half the lifting. This one didn't really need the help, it grabs your attention from the first sentence and doesn't let go. My first read but Katzenbach and what an auspicious introduction, the man certainly knows how tell a story. While technically this is a murder mystery thriller, it would be a shame to marginalize the book ...more
As boring as watching my grandma knit with an absurd ending I didn't buy at all 😊

Tan aburrido como ver a mi abuela tejer y con un final tan absurdo que no me creí ni un poco😊
Scott Parsons
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A riveting tale, this is one of the best books I have read in years. It is also the best I have read by Katzenbach. Some readers may be turned off by the unpleasant setting-an asylum for the mentally ill- or by the concept of the voices that plague Francis when he is off his meds as in the present when he is narrating the story of what happened at Western State Hospital when he was a patient there. But while Francis was a patient for the most part the voices were under control and he renders an ...more
Anna Willett
Aug 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book reminded me of One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. The Madman’s Tale is a fascinating and compassionate examination of the overburdened mental health system in Massachusetts in the late seventies. With a serial killer know as Angel at work in a metal hospital, two patients and a prosecuting attorney work together to find the killer before he strikes again. A captivating and expertly written story.
If you're looking for this book to start with John K. don't, start with The Analyst, I've read most of his work and that's my favorite :)

We have Francis, he seems submissive and the typical person who is there but not...well that was not quite the problem but the opposite, he was sharp taking in much that ended up overwhelming him....when he's family commits him at a Mental Hospital, he'll be the witness of a crime taking place inside the hospital, now as an adult he'll leave the
Apr 16, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
This was an interesting mystery about a brutal murder in a mental hospital told through a young narrator, a very intelligent, almost normal young man who hears voices. While there he is befriended by Peter The Fireman who has ended up there because of a vicious act of revenge and Lucy, a young beautiful prosecutor who has come there to investigate the sex murder of a young nurse at the hospital. Lucy herself is a victim of a sex crime. The plot is pretty good although it is a bit drawn out. Fran ...more
THE MADMAN’S TALE (Psychological Thriller) - Ex
John Katzenbach – 10th non-fiction
Ballantine Books, 2004 – Hardcover
Francis Xavier Petrel, named C-Bird by his former fellow inmates at Western State Hospital, is now living on this own. But an invitation to the hospital, closed for 20 years, being made a museum, draws Francis back, both to the place and the memories of the events, people and murders there.
*** An incredible book which draws you in and keeps you there to the very end, this is not a
I read this for academic purposes but I really liked the plot. At first I was loooking for the psychological aspects that Katzenbach is using in the novel, but at nearly the end I found myself to be actually trying to solve the mystery of the murder. The only thing I didn't like was the writting style... I found to be very descriptive but to extreme... for me. I really feel that there are some descriptions that don't really need to be there, but still I really enjoyed it.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story cames out of the revelations of the sparky crazy mind of Francis Petrel (C-Bird) who recounts his stay in a mental hospital many years ago, disclosing the unresolved crime of a nurse assistant.
The story line works in different time dimensions a first person account and a third person recount adopting the scheme of a whodunit, where also the perpetrator of a distant past jumps into the recount and commit more crimes hidden in a bunch of crazy men, it also adds a
May 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not a quick read(I did finish a few other books that had a be returned to the library first)but well worth the effort. Superior to The Burn Palace which had a similar plot in which a serial killer was operating inside an asylum. Francis or C-Bird as he is known and Peter an ex-fireman attempt to solve a murder of a nurse . It's very similar to cases that Peter is aware of that happened outside the asylum. What makes this story unique is that Francis is recalling the story and writing it on the w ...more
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Picked this up at a Library book sale since it looked interesting. A murder mystery, told from the eyes of a young man who hears voices and has been committed to a mental hospital by his family. The murder takes place in the hospital and circumstantial evidence points to one of the other patients in this hospital. A young woman prosecutor hears of it and comes to investigate it after finding it fits in with some previous serial murders outside of the hospital. She befriends the young man and ano ...more
Sep 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: awesome
This is an awesome book written from an unusual angle, that of an insane person. Most authors would have written about the insane person from the outside looking in...couldnt put this one down once I was into it...
I keep reading Katzenbach and thinking the same same thing, he uses way to many details, not always necessary for the story, making it slow. This time, though, it makes more sense, as the story is told by a schizophrenic man.
Jena McCall
Kind of slow in the middle... but I had to finish to see who dun it!!
Mar 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

If you like unreliable narrators and murder mystery you should definitely read this.

The atmosphere of the mental hospital was quite creepy but the truly creepy thing is that only two female characters actually speak like... anyways.
Kevin Black
Hm. Well, it is a book where the Good Guys are trying to find a Jack the Ripper type, but set within an insane asylum from the 1970s.
Pros: a gripping page-turner, and the author manages to talk about killings and maimings and whatnot without lingering over the gore. The character development is good and the characters are nuanced. I liked the two aides.
Cons: the protagonist and the two other main characters on his side actually are fairly believable, but the other folks who are described in any
Tiffany PSquared
I read another review that described this book as a gripping page-turner. No. I forced myself to finish this book, even though it is well written and has fully developed main characters. I have to stress that it is not a bad book - not a bad story. It just suffers from what I'm finding to be a deal-breaker for me in any book that I read... it is s-l-o-w.
This is a think-outside-the-box setting for a serial killer murder mystery - one of my favorite types of stories. Add to that a hospital full of
Almudena Manzanilla
Reading this book was exhausting. Don't get me wrong, it is a good book, but it is not my type of book. At first, I thought, nice, we have a detective, a crazy man, a murderer, and a crazy house. A lot of elements that might make this book really interesting. I think the story was kind of slow, too many thoughts of Francis. I didn't feel that he was crazy, I was hoping to see a madhouse, literally a madhouse and it was kind of disappointing? I mean, I didn't feel they were crazy enough to be in ...more
Feb 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think the premise of a murderer inside a mental insitution is a great one - I guess I was expecting a bit more action and substance. Sure, there's amazing attention to detail, but that detail seems to be repeated over and over... slowly. Something about the author's style does appeal to me - he has an almost poetic way of writing - I just wish what he was writing about was a bit more interesting.

I thought for sure half way through the book I had figured out who the "Angel" was.If so it would h
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3,5 stars.
A truly captivating and claustrophobic mystery! Part ''One flew over the cuckoo's nest'', part ''Shutter island'', the character development was interesting, every hero had his own complexity, and the craziness concept was very well executed in my opinion... The 3,5 stars are given because I was really dissatisfied by the identity of the killer, and because towards the page 350 and forward I almost skipped parts, the ending was coming so slow! Overall, it was a memorale readi
This is a smart mystery type book about a schizophrenic man who is in the middle of a series of crimes by a serial killer, at a mental institution. while i was reading it, i was thinking that this is what the girl with the dragon tattoo series should have been and could have been, but wasn't. The whole story was a flashback to when the main guy was 21, and seeing how his life turned out was rather depressing. but the book kept my interest the whole while. the writing was excellent, and i felt in ...more
Sezín Koehler
Total crap. Katzenbach is a good writer, however this story was absurd. I hate murder mysteries when the killer is some totally random person. It's just useless. And not a short book either, so very disappointing after investing so much time. A very lazy and cop-out way of writing. Methinks I will not be reading any more of this guy's books. His earler work was so much better thought out.
Nov 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Needing a break from the more depressing lit and poetry I've been reading lately, I devoured this like a kid getting their first taste of Fun Dip...without shame or concern for anyone watching. And folks, I have to be honest, it was sinfully exquisite. Fun, quick and full of surprises at every turn, this was exactly what I needed.
Feb 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I am not sure why I wasted my time with this one. I listened to it as an audiobook and that might be the only reason I even finished it.

An unpleasant reading experience with a lame ending. Confusing and silly at times.

Also, it rubbed me the wrong way that Lucy Kyoto Jones, partly Asian and with a scar on her face, was described as exotic at the beginning.
Andrea Reyes
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of that books I lost the interest in because of the dispersion at the beginning, I left it aside for a long time, but when I passed the middle it got my total attention and I really enjoyed it.

I'm taking this as my first spooky read of October.

As I said before, this wasn't what I expected. I had so many expectations for this book because I've read other works by Katzenbach and I found them atonishing, thrilling and incredibly written. This was certainly not the case.

The narrator is an schizophrenic man who has recovered been under so many pills and routine that he no longer hears voices. I wanted delusions, fantasies, voices that crept under his skin and made you cringe. I actually

This book managed to transmit me a great sorrow at the beginnig. The description of what an outcast for mental problems go through and what being in a mental institution feels like was very strong. I don't think it is that easy to transmit that so well and here it was done great, it was hard to read.
But for those who didn't read it, this was more like the introduction of the character and the hospital, it becomes bearable, don't worry about that.

It was a little bit slow in my opinion, and i fe
Judith B
Good, not great

Interesting tale told from the mind of a middle aged schizophrenic man, living in the community, who spent his early years institutionalized at a state hospital, subsequently closed. It goes into his time there and unravels a murder mystery which occurs on the grounds. Likable characters, but not as much depth as I like. A bit slow in spots for a thriller. Good job of capturing what it might be like to live with auditory hallucinations and good depiction of an institutional world
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was really excited about this book, but it ended up disappointing me.
It started well, we had a problem to solve, but the way the information is given to us is so unnecessary long. And the climax of the story happened in the last 30 pages. 30 out of over 500.
The characters felt incredibly under developed and 2d.
And at the end, when we finally now who the murdered is it's just so disappointing. There were so many other interesting options, it felt not worth the reading.

John, what happened? I kn
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John Katzenbach is a U.S. author of popular fiction. Son of Nicholas Katzenbach, former United States Attorney General, John worked as a criminal court reporter for the Miami Herald and Miami News, and a featured writer for the Herald’s Tropic magazine. He is married to Madeleine Blais and they live in western Massachusetts.

He left the newspaper grind to write books, racking up 12 novels so far, p

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89 likes · 16 comments
“One of the things I learned in my maddest years was that one could be in a room, with walls and barred windows and locks on the doors, surrounded by other crazy people, or even stuffed into an isolation cell all alone, but that really wasn't the room one was in at all. The real room that one occupied was constructed by memory, by relationships, by events, by all sorts of unseen forces. Sometimes delusions. Sometimes hallucinations. Sometimes desires. Sometimes dreams and hopes, or ambitions. Sometimes anger. That was what was important: to always recognize where the real walls were. (176)” 41 likes
“Ése es uno de los principales problemas de estar loco: nunca estás seguro de las cosas” 29 likes
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