'Moody and evocative as a fever dream' Washington Post
During your three years at Catherine House, you will have no contact with those in the outside world.
You will not leave the grounds during your time at the college.
If we believe you have wandered from the path of learning, you may be sent to the tower.
Each of our students has been selected as someone who belongs here at Catherine. You will give to Catherine, and Catherine will give to you. We will not let each other down.
Catherine House is a university like no other. Into its celebrated world steps Ines, a young woman who welcomes the school's isolation rather than its illustrious past. As the gates close and Ines finds herself start to be inevitably seduced by its magnetic power, she also begins to realise the question isn't why she chose to come to Catherine House; but why Catherine House chose her.
'Echoes of Donna Tartt's The Secret History and Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go contribute to this unsettling gothic concoction' Daily Mail
Thomas's spellbinding debut opens in 1996 on Ines Murillo's first night at a small, highly selective college in the Pennsylvania woods. Drunk after a party, Ines reflects on her relief that behind Catherine House's locked gates, no one knows about her past. Renowned for controversial research regarding a mysterious elemental substance called plasm, the school holds classes year-round, and students remain confined to Catherine's rural estate. Eager to disassociate from a past trauma, Ines falls behind on her work while seeking solace in a string of sexual encounters before finding a group of friends who feel closer to family than anything she's ever known. Still, Ines can't ignore her growing suspicions about the school's plasm experimentation in "psychosexual healing," in which students are subjected to mass hypnosis. Ines's academic probation leads her to forced isolation in the "Restoration Center," where a professor places plasm pins in her head and tells her she'll never think of her past life again. Surreal imagery, spare characterization, and artful, hypnotic prose lend Thomas's tale a delirious air, but at the book's core lies a profound portrait of depression and adolescent turmoil. Fans of Donna Tartt's The Secret History will devour this philosophical fever dream.