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Possessed by Jowita Bydlowska

by Carly-Ann

My deep fascination with this book all started here:

And if you follow that link, you’ll read this:

Josephine is obsessed. Or possessed – by unrequited love for a younger man who doesn’t promise anything, but who gives her a taste of intimacy that puts her on the brink of losing her mind. Oscillating between her elusive lover and her older former partner, stuck in the hell that is working in a cubicle, and obliged to tend to her destructive, senile mother, Josephine is trapped.

After a work assignment promises to deliver distraction, Josephine makes a decision to visit a former quarantine island in the Adriatic Sea, where she meets an enigmatic, beautiful man with a haunting story. Intimate and erotic, Possessed is a dark and funny story exploring sexual obsession, mental illness, and the supernatural.

There’s something that the synopsis doesn’t tell you that I need to: there are ghosts. Complicated, storied, misunderstood, and, at the same time, deeply understood ghosts.

For so many reasons, this book called to me from the moment I became aware of it. I wrote a note to myself to get my hands on a copy as soon as I could. Thankfully, my friends at Dundurn Press heard my prayers and answered them.

The story begins with Josephine’s two very distinctly destructive “relationships” and her stagnant life in Toronto. A chance opportunity shakes her out of her daze and sends her off to a haunted island in Croatia. Part research trip, part soul search, you can’t imagine what awaits her and what she learns through the process of discovering it.

This book is explosive, it’s supernatural, it’s deeply believable. I think it owes a great deal of its authenticity to Bydlowska’s willingness to be really really real about things that are hard to talk about and often sugar coated: feeling stuck, caring for aging parents, not being able to get out of the vicious cycle of compulsive behaviour, an insurmountable feeling of self-doubt.

Josephine isn’t always likeable and she certainly doesn’t always make the choices that we hope she will, but she is a heroine worth rooting for and she won’t let you down.

Possessed contains multitudes and it is so many things in one, adventure, self-exploration, and pure, out of control, animalistic sex among them. It is also a reminder that we all have a story that is just waiting to be shared.

I really loved this book and I can’t wait to get my hands on the hard copy I just preordered. It’ll be out November 1st. Thank you to the folks at Dundurn Press and NetGalley for lessening my wait.

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