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The Quelling

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  62 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Addie and Dorian have always been together. They’re clever, beautiful—and hopelessly violent. Diagnosed with a rare psychiatric condition and accused of murder in childhood, the sisters have spent most of their lives in a locked ward under the supervision of eccentric researcher Dr. Lark. Now on the cusp of adulthood, Addie has a plan: start a new family, to replace the on ...more
Paperback, 318 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Lanternfish Press
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Barbara Barrow Hi Shira, thanks for your question! It's mostly being marketed as literary fiction, literary thriller, horror, and/or medical or psychological fiction…moreHi Shira, thanks for your question! It's mostly being marketed as literary fiction, literary thriller, horror, and/or medical or psychological fiction. I hadn't thought so much about YA but would be curious to hear more about that designation!(less)

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Geoff Peck
Nov 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's one of those novels where I wanted to linger in the storyworld and over the prose yet simultaneously couldn't put it down because the plot develops in such a natural, engaging way. With the story set in eastern Tennessee along with the aforementioned prose, there's a Southern Gothic atmosphere to the examination of two sisters with Attachment disorder that enhances the tension in a very satisfying way. I can't recommend enough. ...more
Chris Girman
Dec 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full Disclosure: I am a professor peer of author Barbara Barrow and like to think I am somewhat objective about things (former lawyer lol), but I can honestly say this is one of the most well-written and scintillating books I've read in some time. We get so much of the psychological makeup of each of the sister twins, who desperately want a piece of normalcy in the midst of the dreary psychiatric institution and the career-driven Dr. Lark. This book demands to be told in the first person (as it ...more
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Addie and Dorian are sisters. Wait. They are more than sisters. They do not exist without each other. Living together in an mental facility since their childhood, they only interact with each other, their strange doctor, Dr Lark, and Simon and Ellie - their nurses.

The sisters are suffering from attachment disorder, as result of their traumatic childhood. This isn't trauma in the way that some books will gloss over - this is trauma where they beat the shit out of each other, breaking bones and d
Jen Scott
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received an ARC from netgalley for my honest review.
This book follows two sisters who suffer from attachment issues. That's the most I will say about the plot. I started this book around 10 AM and it is now 9:20 and I finished it. Unable to put it down all day. The ending completely took me by surprise. The relationship between the sisters reminds me a lot of Shirley Jackson's "We Have Always Lived in the Castle". Will definitely be recommending this
Amanda (The Book Geek Boutique)
I had high hopes for this horror novel set in a psychiatric clinic following the treatment of two sisters Addie & Dorian who have a strange condition in which they're violent tendencies have stopped them from being 'quelled' or form attachments to people, other than each other.
I was intrigued at first, the imagery was punchy and there were some horrific moments at the beginning. I was also interested in Dr Lark the psychiatrist in charge of the sisters care. The book looks at at control and nat
Oct 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am unquelled by The Quelling

What an unsettling book and an impressive debut. This is a story about extreme family dysfunction, a psychiatric disorder, a fame hungry psychologist, a murder, and a twisty ending.

Addie and Dorian are sisters accused of committing murder when they were young children. They have lived their lives in a psychiatric hospital under the care of Dr. Lark. The book begins as they are entering adulthood. The girls have been diagnosed with reactive attachment disorder and Dr
Barbara Rohde
Sep 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the strange story of two sisters, Addie and Dorian, who have been institutionalised in a mental facility since children. They have been diagnosed as suffering an attachment disorder as a result of their traumatic childhood. Under the management of Dr Lark who uses them to find a 'cure' for their disorder, the story explores themes of psychiatric treatments and abuses.

It is very engaging and accessible in terms of the writing and subtle in the points it's making. There are numerous layers
Emi Bevacqua
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Alien-like Tennessee siblings neglected by an unstable mother and absent father, are blamed for a gruesome and wholly unfathomable crime and fueled by wildlife TV programming at their childhood home and subsequent psychiatric institution. The narrative point of view switches jarringly from Dorian and Addie the patients and members of their medical team, Dr. Lark, Evie and Simon. Everybody's objectives and motivations were so skewed I found it debilitating. I liked the title, and the theme of div ...more
Sharon Sample
Jul 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Two sisters who are now in their late teens, have been in a secure mental institution since they were young children. The story revolves around the girls and the people treating them. In this literary novel, the theme of how the most severally mentally ill are treated along with the intentions of those who provide the treatment are vividly illustrated. There is also an explanation motives of the people in the anti-abortion movement.

The writing is tight with no extra words added. The story is pr
Charlie Eskew
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Barrow's prose hits hard, and dissects something primal about human needs; there is a theme in each character of both hedonistic and discovery. Barrow effortlessly migrates us from understanding and appreciating each character and the distinct voices they have, but my personal opinion is this is most successfully done with one of our protagonists, Dorian, who steals the spotlight in a Barrow's world already rich in illumination. ...more
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: arcs
ARC provided by Lanternfish Press at the 2019 ALA Conference.

This was an odd reading experience. More literary than I usually enjoy, but with a tight focus on a very small cast of characters and a claustrophobically close environment that made it less of a chore to read. (I struggle with the literary style; that's another story for another day.)

All that said, the concept of a pair of violent sisters obsessed with a common goal and willing to go to any means to achieve it is a compelling one, and
Kat Trent
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is easily my favorite book of this year. The writing was phenomenal, the switching in perspectives that offered more context, and how the lives of these two sisters were altered heavily by their mother. This does raise the question of nature vs. nuture, and how far people are willing to go, but also how women develop, and how that needs to be taught and explained.
The horror of this novel comes specifically from the people that are supposed to help the most. All of main characters were well
John Zeller
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Barrow's "The Quelling" is one of the most engrossing pieces of fiction I have ever read. It puts you in the minds of its five narrators at different times and for different reasons, as they all have their own motivations and varying levels of mental clarity. The sisters' relationship and prognosis is so intriguing that Barrow allows you to see it from all angles. It was at various times heartbreaking, gorgeous, thrilling, and mysterious. This ability to change mood and tone, while setti ...more
David Holloway
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Barrow’s The Quelling is a marauding journey into the psychology of the American south. While the majority of the novel concerns the fate of the twin sisters, Barrow’s careful examination and portrayal of their lives in a mental institute, as well as her telling of the harrowing events that unfold there, come to speak for much of the concerns of the southern consciousness, if not the American consciousness. Barrow’s narrative voice is at once agile, staid, and sharp. This book – her debu ...more
Sep 04, 2019 rated it liked it
I couldn't see what the point of this book was. It was about a treatment that I thought was discredited long ago, so I don't know why the author was writing about it in the present day. I never had much of a sense of the two main characters, even though you'd think they would have vivid personalities. And the positioning of the pro-life activist as the savior was odd - she happened to be the right person to help in this case, but was this supposed to mean something? ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A disturbing read full of intrigue and mystery that withholds information properly to keep the reader moving and thinking at the same time. Not usually a fan of multiple character perspectives, but Barrow makes it work beautifully.
Elizabeth Smith
Sep 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely riveting! Could not put it down, Barbara Barrow pulls you into the characters lives, thoughts, and feelings within the first few pages. I will definitely recommend this book to everyone I know.
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
An oddly intimate, cloying book about sisters with an inability to function without violence and a physician who is crazed about his idea for a cure. Although babies don't usually fix broken relationships, can they bring the sisters together? ...more
Katherine Gail
Jun 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is such a good book. I flew through it. Every character was so complex and fleshed out.
And that ending....
Please please read it.
Christina Rosso
rated it really liked it
Feb 27, 2020
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Jan 02, 2020
Melissa Eisenmeier
rated it it was amazing
Dec 29, 2018
Nicole Aceto
rated it it was amazing
Mar 17, 2020
rated it it was ok
Jul 05, 2019
rated it liked it
Dec 03, 2020
Rachel Ackley-Roffman
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
The Quelling follows sisters Dorian and Addie, both who suffer from severe attachment disorders. They live in a hospital ward under the supervision of Dr Lark, who is seeking to cure their disorder. Told from the perspectives of both sisters, the doctor, and two nurses, the story is captivating and I didn't want to put this one down!!

That being said, I still have so many questions!! Perhaps that was the author's intent?
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Feb 28, 2021
Mary Kay
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Feb 02, 2019
Katharine Coldiron
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May 20, 2019
Riya Gandhi
rated it it was amazing
Jun 14, 2018
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