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The Possessions

3.18  ·  Rating details ·  3,946 ratings  ·  660 reviews
In an unnamed city, the Elysian Society allows paying clients to reconnect with their lost loved ones. The workers, known as bodies, spend their days in a numb routine, wearing the discarded belongings of the dead and swallowing pills to summon spirits.

Edie has been a body for five years, an unusual record. Her success depends on her carefulness. When she channels the wife
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 7th 2017 by Harper
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Average rating 3.18  · 
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Will Byrnes
Sep 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
The first time I meet Patrick Braddock, I’m wearing his wife’s lipstick. The color is exactly wrong for me. Deep, ripe plum, nearly purple, the type of harsh shade that beautiful women wear to prove they can get away with anything. Against my ordinary features, the lipstick is as severe as a bloodstain. I feel like a misbehaving child trying on her mother’s makeup.

In the photo of Sylvia Braddock that lies on my bedroom floor, the lipstick looks perfect
Eurydice rents by the hour, but not in
Hannah Greendale
Eurydice (Edie) works as a "body" for the Elysian Society, a private business that reunites paying clients with their deceased loved ones. By donning items that once belonged to the dead and swallowing a pill called a lotus, Edie slips into a state akin to being unconscious while her body is overtaken by a dead person's spirit. Her latest client, Patrick Braddock, wishes to speak with his deceased wife, Sylvia. Edie obliges, but the more she gives her body over to Sylvia, the blurrier the line b ...more
J. Kent Messum
Review originally published in the New York Journal Of Books:

Is it better to leave the dead alone or bring them back into our lives?

This question is one of many pondered in The Possessions, the debut novel from Sara Flannery Murphy. The story unfolds in a nondescript modern day city that could be anywhere in America. We follow events through the perspective of Eurydice, or Edie as we come to know her, a Plain Jane employed by the Elysian Society. She work
The first novel published by American writer, Sara Flannery Murphy, is a unsettling tale of a woman who rents her body out to the dead. Edie, our protagonist, works for "The Elysian Society," a private service that lets grieving clients connect with their lost loved ones, through workers known as "bodies." The idea of women, being body possessed, is a hot topic these days among writers. This year, I read similar books "Behind Her Eyes" by Sarah Pinborough and "Repeaters" by Erica Ferencik which ...more
The Possessions might conceivably be set in a parallel universe, separated from ours by a mere hair's breadth. In this world, everything's the same – people eat, drive, use the internet and mobile phones, go out to bars, live in shabby apartments – except for one thing. At organisations such as the Elysian Society, the dead can be brought back to speak with the bereaved. Clients pay for sessions with 'bodies' like our narrator, Eurydice (Edie for short); they must bring something that belonged t ...more
Mar 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

The Possessions is deliciously creepy and though-provoking debut. It is a story of young woman who for a living, through special drug, opens her body to dead people, so bereaved persons can stay in touch and talk to their loved ones. The premise screams unique, doesn’t it?

„I haven’t belonged to myself for years; working at the Elysian Society, I see my body as an object on permanent loan. A door without a lock.”

It is very hard to categorize this novel because it mixes plenty of gen
Carol (Bookaria)
Once I started reading this book it possessed me (don't look at me that way! you know the title was asking for it). Anyways, it is such a haunting read, I could hardly put it down.

It revolves around Eddie who works as a "body". Bodies are people who work channeling the dead by taking pills called lotuses, they rent their bodies for an hour and give these services in a business called the Elysian Society. There are two separate and mysterious deaths and what happened is slowly revealed as th
Feb 19, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars

This is a ghost story. I am not a big fan of the supernatural or fantasy. This is also a story about emotional trauma and mental illness; love and lust; grief and loss; personal connection and hope for a better future. I love stories that tackle these very expansive subjects.

The paranormal elements of this tale were described in such a casual, non-dramatic manner, as if they were just part and parcel of everyday living, that I was confused and befuddled during the opening chapters. Onc
Book of the Month
By Judge Liberty Hardy

In a “limbo of a neighborhood”, where “the streets are populated with abandoned homes and condemned buildings” sits the headquarters of the Elysian Society. Made of cool white brick, “at a squinting it could be a church, or a museum”. It’s an appropriately eerie setting for a very unusual organization.

The Elysian Society offers grieving clients the ability to reconnect with their deceased loved ones through attendants known as “bodies,” who, with t
Jan 30, 2017 marked it as didnt-finish
Noooothinnggggg haaaappppeennnnnsss for sooooooo loooongggg and the few things that do happen are irritating or don't make sense. OR BOTH.
Unnamed Narrator (she goes by nom de guerre “Edie,” short for Eurydice, the name assigned to her by her employer) works for the Elysian Society, where the bereaved can visit their departed loved ones in a living person’s body. For UN, the job is bliss, as possession allows her to be literally gone from her own body, her non-life, and the past she never wants to think about again. She doesn’t have to care about any of these people or their losses, either. But then handsome Patrick Braddock, a you
'The fear swirls out of my mind, the last dregs of water spinning and sliding down the drain.
I open my eyes and reach for the cup, swallow the lotus. It barely takes any time before I'm gone.'

Eurydice (Edie) has worked for the Elysian Society as a body for five years where she acts as a conduit connecting individuals with their deceased loved ones. By consuming a lotus pill, it allows the "body" to almost disconnect so as to allow the loved one to once again have a physical form. The physica
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
2.5 ⭐️
More reviews available at my blog, Beauty and the Bookworm.

The Possessions was my Book of the Month choice for February 2017. (I also got Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, but this was my "primary" book, if that makes sense.) The description, about a woman who earns a living by letting the souls of the dead possess her so their loved ones can speak to them again, was intriguing. The potential added murder-mystery-suspense element added additional promise.

Our heroine, Eurydice, works for the Elysian Socie
Sam (Clues and Reviews)
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
For all my reviews, visit Clues and Reviews

Eurydice, known as Edie, works for the Elysian Society, a company that allows grieving people to connect with their dead family members and friends. Known as “a body”, Edie wears something to connect her to the deceased, swallows a lotus (a pill to summon their spirits) and becomes a vessel for the dead. She cannot remember what happens when she is possessed. Edie is successful because she is able to stay detached, but t
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved every page of Sara Flannery Murphy's first novel The Possessions. The front cover is gorgeous. I can tell you that I had an obsession of my own I couldn't put this book down. What kept me turning the pages was how beautiful the sentences were written with a fresh different idea for a novel. I can see why Sara Flannery Murphy received an MFA in Creative Writing. If anyone has ever tried to write a novel, they will know how hard it is. I will treasure my book in my book case.
The Possession
Apr 12, 2017 rated it liked it
The subject was intriguing and the story held my interest throughout. The author does a good job at pulling you into the emotions/psyche of the characters, and it's definitely not a run-of-the-mill topic. The only "issue," per se, I had is that it couldn't quite sustain a steady motion throughout--the ball would be rolling along, gaining speed, then creeping along, then gaining speed, and so on. But still, it never completely stopped rolling, unlike some books I've encountered, and the parts tha ...more
 Megan • Reading Books Like a Boss (book blog)

Sara Flannery Murphy's striking debut tells the story of a woman haunted by her own past who escapes into the lives of the dead. Eerie, haunting, and beautifully rich prose had me turning the pages, but some readers may have trouble with the slower pace at times.
"What kind of person would agree to be the vessel for the love of strangers, day in and day out?"

Eurydice offers a unique service within the walls of the Elysian Society—she connects those who've perished with their dead loved ones.
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Eurydice, known as Edie, works as a ‘body’ for the secretive, Elysian Society, where clients come to visit their dead relatives. Edie swallows a pill, known as a lotus, and her body is inhabited by the spirit of a loved one. One day, Patrick arrives, hoping to talk to the spirit of his dead wife, Sylvia. Wearing Sylvia’s plum lipstick, Edie swallows the lotus. Later, when Patrick leaves the lipstick behind with her, she continues to wear it and muses about the attractive Patrick and on what happ ...more
MaryannC. Book Freak
3.75 Stars

This was a very interesting premise. While this is usually not my sort of read it was a quite fascinating idea to explore, the whole idea being that a customer could pay to revisit a deceased loved one through a person called a body that takes a pill called a lotus that brings them back inhabiting that body. This was an often engrossing read that compelled me to see how it ended.
Charlotte Lynn
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it

The Possessions is such a different story. The idea of using another person’s body to connect with a love one that you lost is intriguing. Everyone has lost someone and wishes they have more time with someone they lost and this is one way of doing so. Eurydice, aka Edie, takes her job as a “body” serious, very serious. Usually the body only last for a short time but Edie manages to make it last for 5 years.

Edie takes her clients on to help them connect with the dead. Usually she doesn’
Lucie Paris
Aug 01, 2016 rated it liked it
I was very intrigued by the synopsis and decided to plunge into it. The beginning was good and has reminded me of Aldous Huxley's atmosphere as well as the movie Gattaca.

As readers, we are following Edie, who is able to let dead people reconnect with loved ones through her body. She is cold, distance and doesn't live if not for her work. Until she meets Patrick, a widower who is hiding secrets about his wife death.

To be honest, I was curious and eager until the middle of this book. Then, I've st
Jaclyn Crupi
The Possessions had such potential to explore the depths of grief and identity but missed the mark sadly. It's a compelling read and premise but it completely failed to resonate with me. It reminded me of The Handmaid's Tale and The Natural Way of Things but didn't have the complexity or nuance of those chilling dystopias but perhaps I missed the point completely.
Aug 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars

Edie is a body at The Elysium Society, which means she takes on spirits of the dead so they can talk to their loved ones. When Edie meets a man called Patrick and takes on his wife Sylvia, she begins to fall in love with him but Sylvia is strong and appears to be taking over more of Edie everyday. Edie is also suspicious of Syvia’s death and doesn’t know if it was as accidental as everyone says.

This was really, really interesting book and concept. The idea of the bodies and the way The
Lindsay Koch
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
Just a drag. And the big reveal was lame.

The entire book was disjointed and cloudy, perhaps because of the main characters job, I get it. But it was infuriating. The premise was great, but this fell flat. Nothing happens for the vast majority of the book. Because the character is nothing, her actions mean nothing.

Oh, and the choking weeds. How many times do you need to mention choking weeds? A good symbol does not require brow beating.
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it
Engrossing tale of a drug that allows the user to take on the spirit of a departed soul, so that your loved ones can talk to you. The workers who do this are referred to as "bodies", Edie is particularly good at this because she doesn't want to be herself--a perfect blank canvas. It reminded my of The Handmaid's Tale.
This book is difficult to review in much detail beyond the blurb above without giving away plot points and the mysteries contained in its pages and I don't want to spoil it. I will say that it is strange and has a somewhat dystopian vibe and a bleak sort of beauty to it that drew me in almost immediately. The city and time it is set in are unnamed and there are times it feels futuristic and other times it feels like it could be set in the current day, or at least in the very near future. The aut ...more
Katie/Doing Dewey
Dec 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"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. But when Edie channels Sylvia, the dead wife of recent widower Patrick Braddock, she becomes obsessed with the glamorous couple. Despite the murky ci ...more
DJ Sakata
Favorite Quotes:

The sensation is as unsurprising now as drawing a breath or falling asleep. A numbness spreads across the body, the blood growing sluggish. The eyelids turn weighted. The body is rearranging itself to make room, my consciousness rising and scattering like wary birds sensing an unknown presence.

The sensation of Sylvia’s presence is there and gone, like catching a shadowy movement from the corner of my eye. I’m brushing my teeth. I blink, and my reflection is a stranger’s; blink ag
Aug 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
The Possessions, by Sara Flannery Murphy, Feb. 2017
Eurydice (Edie) works as a “body” for the Elysian Society, an establishment, set in the near future, which allows the grief stricken to connect with deceased loved ones. Edie has worked for the Elysian Society for five years and holds the record for longest employment. Bodies don’t seem to last long at the Elysian Society, but Edie’s uncanny success relies on her ability to completely vacate her body, detach and allow the deceased to fully posse
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Around the Year i...: The Possessions, by Sara Flannery Murphy 1 24 Mar 11, 2017 05:59PM  

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Sara Flannery Murphy was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. When she was growing up, her family divided their time between Little Rock and Eureka Springs, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from Washington University in St. Louis. Currently, Murphy lives in Utah with her husband and their two young sons.

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