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Extended Audio Sample The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel Audiobook, by Heidi Julavits Click for printable size audiobook cover
2.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 52.64 out of 5 2.64 (33 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Heidi Julavits Narrator: Shelly Frasier Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781400173495
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In late afternoon on November 7, 1985, sixteen-year-old Mary Veal was abducted after field hockey practice at her all-girls New England prep school. Or was she? A few weeks later an unharmed Mary reappears as suddenly and mysteriously as she disappeared, claiming to have little memory of what happened to her. Her mother, concerned that Mary has somehow been sullied by the experience, sends her to therapy with a psychologist named Dr. Hammer. Mary turns out to be a cagey and difficult patient and Dr. Hammer begins to suspect Mary concocted her tale of abduction when he discovers its parallels with a seventeenth-century narrative of a girl who was abducted by Indians and later caused her rescuer to be hanged as a witch. Hammer, eager to further his professional reputation, decides to write a book about Mary's faked abduction, a project her mother sanctions because she'd rather her daughter be a liar than a rape victim. Fifteen years later, Mary has returned to Boston for her mother's funeral. Her abduction-real or imagined-has tainted many lives, including her own. When Mary finds a suggestive letter sent to her mother, she suspects her mother planned a reconciliation before her death. Thus begins a quest that requires Mary to revisit the people and places in her past. The Uses of Enchantment weaves a spell in which the power of a young woman's sexuality, and her desire to wield it, has a devastating effect on all involved. The riveting cat-and-mouse power games between doctor and patient, and between abductor and abductee, are gradually, dreamily revealed, along with the truth about what actually happened in 1985. Heidi Julavits is in full command of her considerable gifts, and has crafted a dazzling narrative sure to garner her further acclaim as one of the best novelists working today. Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • Frasier is an engaging performer, and the spell of this beguiling work will entrance listeners to the very end. Publishers Weekly Audio Review

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanne | 2/12/2014

    " This is a curious book...while reading it, I found myself wanting to know more about the author. The story - of a privileged, intelligent, and probably disturbed girl from a repressed and disfunctional family - is fascinating, while not exactly satisfying. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzi | 2/3/2014

    " ok - but not going to finish it "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Allison | 1/28/2014

    " disappointing -- this one was trying too hard. the narrative jumps between three points of view at three points in time --which was confusing enough but then the reader is left with no resolution to the "mystery" -- I like a little resolution "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 erin | 1/27/2014

    " I really wanted to like this book... About mid-way through I was ready to be done with it, had grown tired of the characters (didn't like any of them except, maybe, for the dad), had grown tired of the quick and witty banter, and really didn't care what had happened to Mary. The writing is good, but I just couldn't get into it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Elizabeth | 12/29/2013

    " After I finished this book and before I started writing this reaction, I read through many other reviews in the hopes that I missed something, as the ending left me somewhat cold, confused and angry (like the suggestively named "Mary Veal"--and her mother). As others have said, a book about the nature of truth and the impermanence of memory should leave the reader with some questions about whose reality is the "real" one, but I do feel the author should have left a couple more breadcrumbs to lead me in the "right" direction. I'm not asking for a whole loaf of bread...just a few crumbs. Perhaps if I knew more about the case of Dora I'd be able to understand exactly how we should interpret the parallels--and why one of the epigraphs is from that text. The other epigraph is totally ambiguous--Henry James' "Nobody tells fibs in Boston"--could either mean people ONLY tell WHOPPERS, or that nobody lies at all. I suspect the former--but I don't know the context for that quotation, either, which doesn't help. I do have a couple theories about the book: the sisters are entirely fictional (split parts of Mary's personality), the aunt is the mother, the therapist participated in the abuse, and the abuser was the friend of her parents. Not sure what to make of Mary's dad. But since VEAL is BABY MEAT kept TRAPPED to keep it TENDER before it can be CONSUMED, I do have to think that Mary is NOT a liar and was in fact abused. Phew! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Julie | 12/13/2013

    " There was potential here and I was curious to read on to solve the "mystery", but it was not what I expected and the story went on and on and I never felt a connection to Mary/Miriam or any of the other characters. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 11/26/2013

    " Definitely a compelling read- I blew through it in 4 days. I'd have enjoyed it more if I was actively discussing it. Julavits raises so many questions, and builds layers of "truth" throughout- that I think it would have been a richer experience if shared with others. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eugenia Williamson | 11/25/2013

    " Anyone interested in my ultra-dorky story about this book should ask me privately. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heidi | 11/13/2013

    " I was hoping for the same thrill I got from reading The Effect of Living Backwards, but I could never get into this story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jessica | 11/11/2013

    " Maybe I just didn't get it, but I found this book really circuitous and just dissatisfying overall. I think my expectations were too high. That being said, it was thought-provoking and somewhat insightful. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Les | 11/10/2013

    " Fun and clever and really well written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 ariella | 11/8/2013

    " This book was neither horrible nor fantastic. It definitely had its moments...but never felt like it was "active" enough. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nick | 10/20/2013

    " Oh my no. I had actually given this as a gift (to my mother) and then read it this summer. The description makes it sound wonderful. But I'm thinking that maybe her style -- lots of strange psychoanalytic stuff -- is just not for me. That said, the premise was fascinating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa Wakefield | 1/19/2013

    " I don't know... just not the right book at the right time, I guess. Didn't really love the main character, so that makes it harder to like the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meredith | 11/20/2012

    " both utilizes and mocks freudian analysis in the lives of girls -- a fun read, although not kind to the psychological profession. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth666ann | 7/27/2012

    " Novel about Freud, psychoanalysis, creativity, teenage girl sexuality, repression, cruelty, mother-daughter relationships, storytelling, influence, narrative unreliability. Great read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mindy | 3/25/2012

    " I'm really not sure what I thought of this book. Could have been 2 stars. Could have been 4. It demands more attention than I gave it, so I'll just go with a middle-of-the-road 3 here. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lara | 12/15/2011

    " Highly recommended book, a solid 4.5. For anyone female, or someone that has spent time in counseling. If you can't handle concrete answers, then not recommended. Best I've read fiction wise in a long time! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jill | 10/18/2011

    " Intriguing story with disappointing ending about what might or might not have happened when a high school girl disappeared. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Maria | 10/12/2011

    " I did not like this book at first: it screws with you--but in the end, it comes around and I needed to finish it find out what really happened. I think the author wants to frustrates readers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Michelle V | 5/13/2011

    " This book was ok...good premise, but it felt like it took a long time to get to what I wanted to know..nice writing style, easy to read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Allison | 4/23/2011

    " I would give this a 3.5 if I could. I enjoyed the book. It was a compelling, unexpected mystery. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Marguerite | 11/27/2010

    " There's an interesting story here, and as a psychological mystery (thriller would be overstating) the book kept me guessing, but I just didn't give a damn about any of the characters in the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jessica | 7/19/2010

    " This was pretty messed up and awful, and totally cheated readers out of an ending. A definite 'blegh.' "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 2/18/2010

    " Cleverly written, often intriguing, but fairly bleak story. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Nick | 1/5/2010

    " Oh my no. I had actually given this as a gift (to my mother) and then read it this summer. The description makes it sound wonderful. But I'm thinking that maybe her style -- lots of strange psychoanalytic stuff -- is just not for me. That said, the premise was fascinating. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dana | 1/4/2010

    " Weird book, and at times confusing (though I think that was the point?). An anticlimactic page-turner, if that makes any sense. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Beth | 11/15/2009

    " Wanted to like this book. It was well written, but that wasn't enough for me. There are some books that can be completely satisfying even though you never know what really happens. This isn't one of them. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lisa | 10/14/2009

    " Meh. This one was so suspenseful for the first 50 pages, and then it just got tense and annoying somehow. I hated the resolution as well. Perhaps it was just me, but I disliked almost every character. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kendra | 8/25/2009

    " I made it through 70 pages before giving up and admitting that I intensely disliked what I was reading -- fictionalized psychoanalytical bullsh**. Time to call it quits so I can get back to books that I don't dread sitting down to read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Victoria | 7/24/2009

    " Disturbing but a great read...captures so well the deep darkness of the female pubescent soul (if she has one...not sure I did). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Esther | 7/21/2009

    " Clever writing, interesting, complex characters. I love it when I finish a book and I want to re-read it to catch little subtleties I may have missed the first time around "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzi | 7/7/2009

    " ok - but not going to finish it "

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About the Author
Author Heidi Julavits

Heidi Julavits was born in Portland, Maine, in 1968. She graduated from Dartmouth College and has an MFA from Columbia University. Her short stories have appeared in Harper’s, Esquire, the Best American Short Stories, Zoetrope, among other places. Her nonfiction has appeared in the New York Times, Elle, and the Best American Travel Essays. She is a founding coeditor of the Believer, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, and was a finalist for the New York Public Library Young Lions Fiction Award. She lives in Manhattan with her husband, Ben Marcus, and their two children.

About the Narrator

Shelly Frasier has appeared in many independent film and theater projects in Arizona and Southern California and has done voice-over work for commercials and animation projects. She trained at the Groundlings Improv School in Hollywood and South Coast Repertory’s Professional Conservatory in Costa Mesa, California. She has performed at theaters throughout North Hollywood and Orange County. Recent performances include Blue Window, The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry, The Haunting of Hill House, and a British farcical version of A Christmas Carol. She resides in Hollywood.