Summary and book reviews of The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski

The Muse Asylum

by David Czuchlewski

The Muse Asylum
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  • First Published:
    May 2001, 240 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2002, 240 pages

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About this Book

Book Summary

Part love story and part journey into the psychology of genius, The Muse Asylum is a tale of stunning reversals and reflections in a world where things are never quite what they seem.

The lives of three recent Princeton graduates--Jake Burnett, a reporter for a small Manhattan weekly; Andrew Wallace, a troubled genius convinced of worldwide conspiracies and cover-ups; and Lara Knowles, ex-girlfriend to both--weave together in a search to uncover the identity of the reclusive master of the modern novel, Horace Jacob Little.

A violent act lands Andrew in the Overlook Psychiatric Institute, also known as the Muse Asylum, a haven for the artistically gifted with mental illness. He spends his days working on his autobiography, the story of the Horace Jacob Little conspiracy, and his own efforts to protect his true love, Lara, from the dangerous author.

But when Jake--trying to make a name for himself by unmasking Horace Jacob Little--goes to visit Andrew, he finds himself caught in a game of cat and mouse, where victim becomes stalker and hunter becomes prey. After Jake inadvertently sets him onto the trail of the author, Andrew spirals deeper into madness. And only then does Jake fathom the author's secret, and the lengths to which Horace Jacob Little will go to protect it.

Part love story and part journey into the psychology of genius, The Muse Asylum is a tale of stunning reversals and reflections in a world where things are never quite what they seem.

Chapter 2

I have no memory of the days I first learned about music, language or the sea. But I remember discovering Horace Jacob Little.

A stray paperback, overstocked or misordered, fell into the possession of my high school English teacher. Recognizing nothing of what would come of it, she gave me this copy of The Unreal City, Horace Jacob Little’s early masterpiece of love and betrayal. It did not look promising to me. Of the book’s six hundred pages, the first twenty provided a detailed history and geography of its fictional setting. At the time I was a fan of books in which vampires have killed several people by page twenty. Worst of all, the cover was blank except for the title and the author’s name. It looked unfinished--something long and tedious that the publisher simply gave up on and sent out without bothering to commission artwork.

I let the book sit around before boredom drove me to pick it up on an idle weekend. I read it straight through, over ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Genius and madness blur in a daring, self-consciously literary debut that runs circles around the postmodern chestnut, the death of the author, to speculate on the murderous theft of an author's identity.....[T]he novel is well plotted, with nuanced characters and real intellectual heft. Czuchlewski is a writer to watch.

Publishers Weekly

Genius and madness blur in a daring, self-consciously literary debut that runs circles around the postmodern chestnut, the death of the author, to speculate on the murderous theft of an author's identity.....[T]he novel is well plotted, with nuanced characters and real intellectual heft. Czuchlewski is a writer to watch.

Kirkus Reviews

Czuchlewski keeps us guessing throughout an elegantly crafted psychological thriller in which this first-time novelist also manages the notoriously difficult feat of summarizing Horace Jacob Little's (Dantesque and Borgesian) short stories and novels in a manner that convinces us they're the products of a strange, possibly insane genius. And there's a stunning final turn of the screw in the closing pages. A fabulous debut. Look for big things from this new writer. He's the genuine article.

Kirkus Reviews

Czuchlewski keeps us guessing throughout an elegantly crafted psychological thriller in which this first-time novelist also manages the notoriously difficult feat of summarizing Horace Jacob Little's (Dantesque and Borgesian) short stories and novels in a manner that convinces us they're the products of a strange, possibly insane genius. And there's a stunning final turn of the screw in the closing pages. A fabulous debut. Look for big things from this new writer. He's the genuine article.

Author Blurb Joyce Carol Oates
The Muse Asylum is an ingeniously plotted postmodernist mystery that introduces a young writer of exceptional gifts. David Czuchlewski writes with imagination, vision, and style.

Reader Reviews

Chelsea Nadeau

One of my most favourite books; great for (advanced) young adult readers. I'm 16 and I'm considering The Muse Asylum for my 11 English book review. Couldn't put it down! :-)

Eggers Fan

The Muse Asylum was an excellent read. It is one of my boyfriend's favourite books. He had been trying to get me to read it for ages and when I finally did, I was not dissapointed. I enjoyed it because though it is not a difficult read (I finished...   Read More

Jean-Claude

thanks!
This book did start me to read again. I read it in one day: I couldn't stop. Strange story, well writen, beautiful descriptions!


Anonymous

Beautifully well-wriiten!

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