Victoria Mas

Cindy Seip

Victoria Mas has worked in film in the United States, where she lived for eight years, and is a graduate of Sorbonne University, where she studied contemporary literature. In The Mad Women’s Ball: A Novel (The Overlook Press), her debut book, it’s 1885, and Dr. Charcot holds all of Paris in thrall with his displays of hypnotism at the Salpetriere Asylum. His subjects: women who have been deemed mad and cast out from society. But the truth is much more complicated. These women – unwanted wives, wayward daughters, and girls born of adulterous relationships – are not sick, but inconvenient. When Geneviève, a senior nurse who has placed her faith in Charcot and science, meets Eugenie, the 19-year-old daughter of a bourgeois family that has locked her away in the asylum, things begin to change. Eugenie has a secret: She truly sees spirits and is determined to escape from the asylum. Publishers Weekly praised how “Mas elegantly blends feminist history and spiritualism, and poignantly demonstrates how the hospital is both prison and refuge for its residents, as Geneviève simultaneously grows disillusioned and empowered. Mas’ dark tale will have readers transfixed.”