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The Uses of Enchantment by Heidi Julavits
In The Uses of Enchantment, Mary Veal was 16 when she disappeared from her West Salem, Mass. prep school and didn't return until a few weeks later, claiming no memory of what happened to her. Exactly fourteen years later, she's returning for her mother's funeral, where she's shunned by her family. Mary finds the notes of the psychologist, Dr. Hammer, who treated her after her disappearance and who suspected she concocted the story of an abduction. Dr. Hammer had written a famous book about a girl who faked an abduction and the problems caused by the falsehood. He also knew Mary was studying Freud's famous case about a young woman's lies which led to his diagnosis of hysteria. Heidi Julavits weaves the story between the past and the present as Mary tries to understand exactly what happened to her. The Uses of Enchantment has received mostly positive reviews with the Boston Globe saying, "Readers angered by ambiguity should avoid this book. But those who have the courage and optimism to take novels seriously (as Julavits, editor of The Believer magazine, clearly does) will find themselves haunted by it in the best sense of the word."