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Extended Audio Sample Angelica, by Arthur Phillips Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (683 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Arthur Phillips Narrator: Susan Lyons Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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When Constance, a lowly clerk in a London stationery, married Joseph Barton, a biological researcher, she believed she had found her ultimate husband and protector. But after three miscarriages and the troubled birth of their daughter, Angelica, Constance fears for her life inside her own home. 

She tries to avoid having sex with her husband and keeps Angelica sleeping in their bedroom. When Joseph orders their daughter out of the room, Constance begins to fear his intentions, his possible murderous hatred of her, and his efforts to alienate her from Angelica. Sensing the presence of supernatural evil in the house, she calls upon a spiritualist to combat the threats she sees to her life and child, and becomes distraught as her domestic life deteriorates into disorder and perceived danger. But is Constance right? 

In four sections, each taking a different character’s point of view, Angelica proceeds to weave a tapestry of parallel and sometimes conflicting interpretations of the lives of Constance, Anne Montague—the spiritualist in whom Constance places her deepest trust—Joseph, and, finally, Angelica. Nothing here is as it seems, but everything fits together beautifully and is vastly entertaining.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Spellbinding…Cements this young novelist’s reputation as one of the best writers in America, a storyteller who combines Nabokovian wit and subtlety with a narrative urgency that rivals Stephen King’s.”

    Washington Post

  • “A spectacular, ever-proliferating tale of mingled motives, psychological menace, and delicately told crises of appetites and loneliness. Phillips sustains a pastiche of Victorian writing and ideas with enticing playfulness.”

    New Yorker

  • “A masterpiece…seamlessly mixes psychological disintegration, the dissolution of a marriage, and…a classic ghost story.”

    USA Today

  • “Impressive…Explore[s] class, gender, family dynamics, sexuality, and sciences both real and fraudulent, ancient and newly minted…The multiple-viewpoint narration yields psychological depth and a number of clever surprises.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Phillips expertly depicts the repressiveness of the Victorian era, well attuned as he is to the subtle and dramatic transformation of familial roles that occur when a child is introduced into the family dynamic. Phillips retells the same vents from four perspectives (à la Rashomon), revealing just enough information each time to change the reader’s allegiances.”

    Booklist

  • “Phillips is a writer of uncommon versatility…Gives Henry James a run for the money. Phillips’ control of language and exquisite writing…[are] worth the price of admission.”

    Library Journal

  • “A symphony of psychological complexity and misdirection in four increasingly tricky movements…Elegant writing abounds, as do probing characterizations and flashes of wit…An impressive step forward for the versatile Phillips, who continues to engage, surprise, and entertain.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Linda | 2/8/2014

    " The best sentence: Night uncoiled. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Jane Kessler | 2/4/2014

    " A complex book that requires some attention but then rewards with a deeply thought-provoking story. Though set in the Victorian era, "Angelica" speaks to very modern issues regarding the nature of perception and memory, and the influence parents have on their children. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Aimee | 1/17/2014

    " A haunting novel with a surprise twist that leaves readers reeling this novel kept me hooked from start to finish. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by david | 12/28/2013

    " The mixed reviews I've seen on this site are perhaps due to a general discomfort with unreliable narrators. And this book happens to have three of them. Phillips has a deft hand with perspective, and the results were mostly satisfying. For me, at least. "

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About the Author

Arthur Phillips is the acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of The Song is You, Prague, The Egyptologist, and others. Prague was named a New York Times Notable Book and received the Los Angeles Times/Art Seidenbaum Award for best first novel. His books Angelica and The Song Is You were both optioned for film, the former by Mitchell Lichtenstein and the latter by Focus Features. Phillips received his BA in history from Harvard University, and he had several occupations before becoming a novelist, including a speechwriter, a jazz musician, and a child actor; he is also a five-time Jeopardy! champion. He lives in New York with his wife and two sons.