The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits
A Novel

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Synopsis

One Autumn day in 1985, sixteen-year-old Mary Veal vanishes from her Massachusetts prep school. A few weeks later she reappears unharmed and with little memory of what happened to her--or at least little that she is willing to share.  Was Mary abducted, or did she fake her disappearance? This question haunts Mary's family, her psychologist, even Mary herself. Weaving together three narratives, The Uses of Enchantment conjures a spell in which the hallucinatory power of a young woman’s sexuality, and her desire to wield it, has devastating consequences for all involved.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Heidi Julavits

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HEIDI JULAVITS is the author of three critically acclaimed novels, The Uses of Enchantment, The Effect of Living Backwards, and The Mineral Palace. Her fiction has appeared in Harper's, Esquire, and The Best American Short Stories, among other places. She's a founding editor of The Believer magazine and the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. She lives in Manhattan and Maine.
 
Published January 8, 2008 by Anchor. 369 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Uses of Enchantment

Kirkus Reviews

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Mary’s mother, Paula, the proud offspring of a Salem witch, lives up to her family heritage by condemning Mary’s act as one of pure defiance.

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The New York Times

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Heidi Julavits's third novel is a frustratingly open-ended book that winds up displaying much more convoluted cleverness than wisdom.

Nov 06 2006 | Read Full Review of The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel

The New York Times

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The protagonist in Heidi Julavits’s black-humored tale of psychoanalysis, Yankee repression and prep school angst is either a victim or a false accuser.

Nov 05 2006 | Read Full Review of The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel

Book Reporter

On a drizzly day in 1985, teenager Mary Veal goes missing after field hockey practice at her all-girls academy in West Salem, Massachusetts, only to return unharmed several weeks later.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel

Entertainment Weekly

Tartly observed scenes of family discord are interspersed with the smarmy notes of Mary's ex-therapist (Freud-like, he offers his own suspect reading of Mary's experience) and a dreamy abduction narrative titled ''What Might Have Happened.'' Whether you find that delightfully postmodern or madden...

Oct 18 2006 | Read Full Review of The Uses of Enchantment: A Novel

USA Today

Her men are pushovers, Mary's sisters are paper-thin, and even Mary remains an enigma.We're not being snarky, though, to suggest that this is a minor novel in a great career.

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