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  • The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

  • By: Emilie Autumn
  • Narrated by: Emilie Autumn
  • Length: 7 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (44 ratings)

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The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls cover art

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

By: Emilie Autumn
Narrated by: Emilie Autumn
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Summary

Two young women, living centuries apart, both accused of madness, communicate across time to fight a common enemy...their doctors.

"It was the dog who found me."

Such is the stark confession launching the harrowing scene that begins The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls as Emilie Autumn, a young musician on the verge of a bright career, attempts suicide by overdosing on the antipsychotics prescribed to treat her bipolar disorder. Upon being discovered, Emilie is revived and immediately incarcerated in a maximum-security psych ward, despite her protestations that she is not crazy, and can provide valid reasons for her actions if someone would only listen.

Treated as a criminal, heavily medicated, and stripped of all freedoms, Emilie is denied communication with the outside world and falls prey to the unwelcome attentions of Dr. Sharp, head of the hospital's psychiatry department. As Dr. Sharp grows more predatory by the day, Emilie begins a secret diary to document her terrifying experience and to maintain her sanity in this environment that could surely drive anyone mad. But when Emilie opens her notebook to find a desperate letter from a young woman, imprisoned within an insane asylum in Victorian England and bearing her own name and description, a portal to another world is blasted wide open.

As these letters from the past continue to appear, Emilie escapes further into this mysterious alternate reality where sisterhoods are formed, romance between female inmates blossoms, striped wallpaper writhes with ghosts, and highly intellectual rats speak the Queen's English.

But is it real? Or is Emilie truly as mad as she is constantly told she is?

The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls blurs harsh reality and magical historical fantasy whilst issuing a scathing critique of society's treatment of women and the mental health care industry's treatment of its patients.

Welcome to the Asylum. Are you committed?

©2007 The Asylum Emporium (P)2016 The Asylum Emporium

What listeners say about The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls

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Perfect depression

Spectacular well written. A perfect description of depression. True horror without requiring anything more than the description of the mind at war with itself. I recognise so much of myself in this, despite it being utterly different from my experience. Well worth the listen

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1 person found this helpful

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love it.

amazing, in a word. as a fan of Emilies music I have known about the book since it was announced. but never was able to get a copy (written or otherwise) and the audiobook has had so much love and care put into it. would recommend to anyone even if they didnt know about her music career.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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AMAZING!

loved it so much. I've wanted to hear this for so long. physical copy next 💃

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Mixed Bag

I'm a huge fan of Emilie's work and the novel itself, but the audiobook is definitely amateur in nature; Emilie is not a skilled narrator, and her alternations between her natural voice and attempts at an English accent are jarring and a little jumpy, however not without their charms, and it's clear how much of a passion project this is for Autumn; a lot of love has gone into the creation of this experience. There are some lovely creative elements with the voice acting; for example, Emilie performs one of her songs in the latter half of the novel with piano accompaniment. I can see however why the voice acting makes this audiobook unlistenable for some.

In terms of the novel itself, This experimental book has great moments as well as many flaws, blending the realities of the singer’s real life with a fictionalised version of her time in an institution as well as a less than historically accurate imagining of victorian life with magical elements. The blending of fantasy with reality is very effective in leaving readers to contemplate what is ‘real’ within the tale and what is imagined. The novel is a scathing criticism of the mental health system and gives an eye opening insight into some of its failings, though readers must be aware that it is at times very insensitive to the plight of other people with mental illness, and could definitely be triggering to those who have suffered with eating disorders, suicidal thoughts or self harm. Heavy feminist themes will speak to many readers, though readers should be aware that this story is very, very dark, with the female inmates of the Victorian asylum suffering every injustice imaginable at the hands of their tormentors. The sisterly bonds developed by these characters are the real heart of the piece. Most of the characters feel a little flat, or like we leave the tale with their stories not quite finished (particularly for the novel’s collection of villains). I enjoyed this unique novel and would recommend it as a fantasy to those who are interested in Victoriana; providing they can stomach the miseries within.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Stuck with it

I found the performance style difficult to muster. Slowly accustomed to certain aspects and the the accents start and the music. not for me. completed and I know people that would love this. ending? 🤷‍♂️

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Strange narration but got used to it!!

struggled to get on with the narrator at first. very individual style but enjoyed the book despite its abrupt ending.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The characters and the storyline

I didn’t dislike any of it. It was all incredible the story was written so well I feel like I was there

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Terrible narrator.

Couldn't get through more than a few minutes, the narration is terrible. Not good at all.

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-

Read the book before so already loved it. Enjoyed listening to it this time.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

eccellent take on the misused power of psychiatry

brilliant and captivating story, horrifically funny yet deeply disturbing and unapologetically critical of the way psychiatry is still used against women today.

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