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3.29  ·  Rating details ·  587 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Elegantly written and profoundly moving, this spellbinding debut affirms Boast’s reputation as a “new young American voice for the ages” (Tom Franklin).

Born with a rare (and real) condition in which she suffers degrees of paralysis when faced with intense emotion, Daphne has few close friends and even fewer lovers. Like her mythic namesake, even one touch can freeze her.
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published February 6th 2018 by Liveright
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Liberty I thought so, too. Perhaps if the fonts or colors were different, it wouldn't look like the title. I'm currently about 1/4 of the way through this…moreI thought so, too. Perhaps if the fonts or colors were different, it wouldn't look like the title. I'm currently about 1/4 of the way through this book. I'm a slow reader... haha! (less)

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3.29  · 
Rating details
 ·  587 ratings  ·  110 reviews

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lucky little cat
Overachiever Daphne Irvine has an inconvenient disability: any strong emotion makes her keel over like a fainting goat. Sometimes you get what you need.

(Mild emotion makes her stutter and twitch.)

Perhaps inevitably for an overachiever, she exerts enormous self-discipline to try to control or at least conceal her difference. It's the Aughties in San Francisco, and Daphne has a gorgeous Mission-district apartment, a successful (if emotionally harrowing) career in biotech, and a formidable reputat
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When thirteen-year-old Daphne was reading The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy she was overcome with the wild passion of teenage imagination; first a buzzing sensation lit her body and then she dropped the book and was unable to move.

It happened, too, with sudden noises, fear, or strong emotions. She hid her affliction as best she could, for Dr. Bell's infinite tests brought no cure, only an unwelcome explanation: an autoimmune disorder had attacked part of her brain.

Daphne became an exper
Inspired by the myth of Daphne and Apollo, Will Boast created this novel about a woman with a rare (but real) condition who suffers paralysis when she experiences deep emotions.

At the risk of sounding insensitive, I expected to feel emotion when reading this book, but just really could not connect with the characters; therefore, the book fell flat for me. I think that part of the issue may have been that the author was trying to cover a lot of ground in the book. In addition to having this debi
Nov 30, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Emma White
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaways

From the outset, this book was mesmerizing. I was surprised to drop into a world that looked so familiar, but also very different from my own life.

My only complaint is that because of the cover design, I kept thinking the title of the book was "Daphne will Boast," not "Daphne" by Will Boast, and I like the first one better.

I found the characters to be really strong and believable, from tenure-shy Miranda to Italy-happy Alden. Even though we don't get to know a lot about them, we
Jenny Shank
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Daphne, in myth, transforms into a laurel tree when pursued by Apollo, while Daphne in Will Boast's arresting new novel similarly freezes when overcome by emotion. Boast's Daphne suffers from cataplexy, a rare condition that causes strong emotions to paralyze her muscles. She's forged a life in bustling contemporary San Francisco by keeping her days regimented to guard against hits of feeling and surprise, which cause her muscles to give out and land her in a heap on the ground. Boast's crystall ...more
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Since reading Will Boast's Daphne, I will never be able to use the phrase "overcome by emotion" again.

Boast's Daphne, quite literally, becomes overcome by emotion. She has a rare and debilitating condition that affects her ability to function when experiencing any kind of emotion. Her body response to emotions varies; the more powerful the emotion, the more crippling the response. Mild annoyances, discomfort or even joy cause her jaw to slack and for her to mumble her words. Big emotions, like
Bland and pointless.
Jul 13, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5, maybe. I didn't hate it, just incredibly underwhelming.
Nov 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: giveaways
So much initial potential followed by such a lackluster ending ...

Daphne strangely gripped me from the start with the author's lyrical style and mysterious out of nowhere beginning that combined perfectly with the unique and fascinating leading lady. By the close of the novel, however, I felt no emotional attachment to the parade of cutout characters introduced nor any interest in their fates. The ending felt less like closure, and more like the author just ambled away as bored with his creation
Jenny GB
Nov 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaway
I received a free copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaways. Thank you!

Daphne suffers from an illness that seizes up her body when she feels a strong emotion. This disease effects her career, friendships, romantic relationships, and her whole life. Will Daphne be able to find an equilibrium with the disease or will she allow it to control her?

This book is a reimaging of the myth of Daphne and Apollo, but really you don't need to know anything about that. For me, it was really the story of a
Kathleen Gray
Feb 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. If you, like me, don't remember the myth, don't worry about it. Boast has created a memorable character in Daphne, a woman coping with more than living with cataplexy. She's put her life into small boxes, as one would if any emotion can leave one on the ground. No driving, no news, no lots of things. I almost gave up on this when we learned what Daphne does for a living- 17% through on the kindle- but that would have been a huge mistake. Ollie, who Daphne meets in a bar, shakes thin ...more
Hallie Fryd
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A deeply unlikable protagonist but very well written and humane and set in SF which is enjoyable
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Whether to live within the limits of our most fragile selves? Whether the safe harbor or the open ocean? A suffering mind or the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune?

These are core questions, urgent questions, in life and in literature. They were central for Hamlet and for Bilbo Baggins, and they remain so in the world around us – for astronauts, for Shark Tank contestants and for commercial fishermen. The questions are also central for Daphne, the protagonist in this insightful and completel
Mar 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Let this be a crude reminder to all of us - every day - that we should not be judgmental, assumptive, or discompassionate to others when we do not know or truly understand what kind of burden other people might be carrying.

And so begins the story of our Daphne, a young girl with aspirations, hopes and dreams like any adolescent. She begins noticing a “buzzing” sensation in her body, a sensitivity to sounds-the louder, the worst her reaction is. She assumes a trancelike state or as things get wo
Donna Hines
Imagine paralysis every time you experienced a real emotion?
Well enter Daphne who suffers from this rare ailment , has a controversial job at MedEval (Implants for dogs), and a mystery fog surrounds her father's death.
It's of course based on the myth of Daphne and Apollo.
The characters Daphne, Alden, Sherman and Ollie were strong as we meet them all through Daphne's eyes.
It's like a window to the soul.
So perhaps that's why many missed the emotion because it was written to come from within throu
Mar 22, 2018 rated it liked it
I knew Daphne was a character from mythology, so I wondered if (Spoiler Alert!) Daphne's love interest in the book, Ollie, was a play on the name of (mythological) Daphne's love interest, and it is (Apollo) so that was kind of neat to learn.

So, the book wasn't terrible, but wasn't the best. I liked Daphne but could have done without the political overtones (Ollie, the march, some of their discussions, etc.). I really didn't care for Brook, and I didn't like Ollie too much, and (second Spoiler Al
Courtney Judy
First half of Daphne, 4 stars. I loved the idea of the problems that afflicted the main female protagonist and was very interested to see how the author would portray someone with this very rare (but very real) affliction and how they carried on with a day-to-day life. Rather quickly I found myself relating in some small ways to Daphne and some of her anxieties. I had no trouble with relationships between characters, and their importance to the story. I loved the San Francisco setting. I liked t ...more
Mar 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
I received an ARC from the publisher Liveright and its editor, Katie Adams. This well-written debut novel tells the story of Daphne who is physically overcome by her emotions due to a very real medical condition. She has learned to "manage" her life, living it mostly looking at it, rather than inhabiting it with all its messy feelings. She has moved from the Midwest to San Francisco and taken a job at a medical device company, managing their dog lab. Her apartment is equally sterile, a place of ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was so beautifully written. I really enjoyed the skillful prose, the strong sense of setting (especially since it's set in SF!), and the exploration of the role of emotion in our lives. As a strong feeler, I resonated with the main character's plight, even if I (thankfully!) am not physically paralyzed by my emotion as she is.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Daphne by Will Boast is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late January.

The title character Daphne serves as a cluttered, befuddled, overwhelmed first-person narrator, beset by the california nightlife culture of her friend, Brook, her work at a controversial animal testing lab, and an inconvenient case of narcolepsy. She meets a nice, wellmeaning guy named Ollie, but lapses while on a date, runs away in shame, and takes medication to encourage sleep. She loses track of work and descends into
A very interesting read, different and unique.
Jun 08, 2019 rated it liked it
I had my expectations set high(ish) for this. Set in San Francisco, and an update on Greek mythology, it had a lot of promise. Daphne has to suppress all emotion otherwise she suffers a sort of paralytic attack. So what happens when she meets a guy she might enjoy being with romantically (so many potential emotions!)? Turns out...not a lot. The characters are pretty one note and it's hard to see what they like about each other. There isn't a big storyline, which is too bad.

In the end, I thought
Mandy Jacobs
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
the ending was terrible - the literary equivalent of "okay, bye."
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: popular-lit
Probably closer to a 3.5, but what the heck.
Cat Jenkins
Apr 09, 2018 rated it did not like it
Forty seven pages in I bailed. At first, I thought the writing style was fresh and interesting, although choppy. But there's no need to beat the reader over the head with the MC's medical condition. We get it. The first time it was explained, we got it. Then, it would have been fine, since it's obviously the focus of the book, to illustrate the details of living with it; the daily strife. But it became repetitive and boring after a while to keep making sure we understood that emotion is the trig ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was ok
Boast use of language is something special. I was enjoying this book until about 20% through when he introduced animal experimentation which is when I stopped reading so I can’t advise anyone as to whether 5hats a tiny part of the story or how visceral it gets. I didn’t want to risk nightmares so I put the book down.

I think there must be a way to prevent unsinkable books from appearing in your stats but I can’t find it. Does anyone know how to mark a book as abandoned but still leave a type of r
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
Only read due to fact I went on a date with the author lolz
T.R. Horne
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was ok

Will Boast makes a good effort at creating a character with a life altering ailment. Unfortunately, his writing style and the character's likability aren't a promising match. While not being a particularly long novel at only 288 pages, I found myself skimming through whole pages because the main character, Daphne, would ramble about off topic subjects in the middle of conversations with other characters or just looking aimlessly out at the world. This does not make a riveting read. Daphne, a
Lexi Nylander
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
After legitimately almost 7 months, I've finally finished this book. I've had it checked out since October.

I don't know what it was about it, but it took me so long to get through. It wasn't captivating enough at first. Daphne isn't an intensely likable character, but I liked her well enough anyway. I wanted it to be more, in some ways? It reminded me a little bit of My Year of Rest and Relaxation, but way better. I'm glad I finished it and glad that I liked it a lot more in the last half of th
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Will Boast was born in England and grew up in Ireland and Wisconsin. His story collection, Power Ballads, won the 2011 Iowa Short Fiction Award. His fiction has appeared in Best New American Voices 2009, Narrative, Glimmer Train, The Southern Review, and The American Scholar, among other publications. From 2008-2010, he was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. He lives in San Francisco and moo ...more
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“I told him that if the protesters really wanted change, they should call their senator, raise money, donate, go out canvassing. They talked about real democracy, but no one wanted to slog through legal challenges, legislation, lobbying, fielding candidates, campaigning. "Too much hard work. All the drums and chanting and meetings and speeches" -- I grabbed my phone from him, tossed it on the couch, took his hand in mine and wrestled with him, letting myself brush up against a little attack-- "they're just to make people /feel/ like something's happening” 2 likes
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