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Extended Audio Sample Asylum, by Patrick McGrath Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,121 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Patrick McGrath Narrator: Ian McKellen Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From our most celebrated writer of the psychological thriller comes this nerve-wracking yet eerily beautiful work of erotic obsession and madness. 

In the summer of 1959, Stella Raphael joins her psychiatrist husband, Max, at his new posting—a maximum-security hospital for the criminally insane. Beautiful and headstrong, Stella soon falls under the spell of Edgar Stark, a brilliant and magnetic sculptor who has been confined to the hospital for murdering his wife in a psychotic rage. But Stella’s knowledge of Edgar’s crime is no hindrance to the volcanic attraction that ensues—a passion that will consume Stella’s sanity and destroy her and the lives of those around her.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A cleverly insidious, beautifully rendered thriller with just the right balance of splatter and innuendo.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A book as absorbing as it is intelligent…The story of this love affair unfolds like a dream into a nightmare—the characters move relentlessly toward their tragic end with desire ranging like a fire, gathering strength and destroying everything and everyone in its path.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “From beginning to end Asylum is a hypnotic read, beautifully judged…ruthlessly manipulative.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “[Asylum] features a subtly deceptive narrator whose confident, musical voice seduces you—a voice that mirrors, in its meter, emotions ranging from lyrically obsessed, to meticulously fond, to cautious and stiff with horror. And the imagery is unforgettable.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • “The book is hypnotizing, with its own strange but darkly convincing pace and style; and the way in which nature and climate are woven into the fabric of the bizarre couple’s strange love is masterly.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Sir Ian McKellen’s masterpiece of interpretive art so entrances…From the very first words, the beauty of his voice and delivery exerts a strange power, aided by the stunningly rich gothic text, reminiscent of the best Isak Dinesen tales.”


  • “McGrath wields a cleverly modernized form of Victorianism, precise and stately, to render scenes of unsettling and suspenseful eroticism in settings as diverse as the bursting garden where the doomed lovers meet; the bleak, rain-blasted coast of Wales; and the pitiless hallways of the asylum. All is push and pull here, as mad strategies are followed to their dire conclusions.”


Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Wendy Simmons | 1/29/2014

    " This book for the most part was really understated, and yet I ca't stop thinking about it. I think it shows how we are a little mad, in one way or another. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Janet | 1/28/2014

    " A darkly enthralling tale about the wife of the Deputy Medical Superintendent of a hospital for the criminally insane in 1959. I listened to the audiobook narrated by Ian McKellan and because the story is told by another psychiatrist working at the hospital and his role in the story makes this "voice" a little unusual. This gradually changes as the story progresses. All the main characters are quite flawed and as someone who works in mental health I found the actions of the professionals pretty appalling. Still a very good listen. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Tim | 1/27/2014

    " A very gothic writer -- and terrific storyteller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Maged | 1/23/2014

    " A great book that was made into a disturbing but very good movie "

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