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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Interpretation of Murder: A Novel » User review

Dr. Younger and Dr. Freud

  • Nov 22, 2010
Rating:
+3
Sigmund Freud made only one visit to America, in 1909, and author Rubenfeld uses that event to inspire his first historical novel. Budding psychologist Stratham Younger meets Freud, accompanied by Carl Jung, no less, at the pier upon their arrival in Manhattan. Near Washington Square, two beautiful young heiresses have been brutally attacked, one strangled to death, the other managing to survive. Dr. Younger, with consultative support from Dr. Freud, undertakes her treatment. The detective assigned to the investigation, Jimmy Littlemore, is also young and inexperienced, but soon discovers features in both cases that just don't add up. It soon becomes evident that the assailant in none other than the powerful, sadistic, monumentally successful contractor who's been building many of the city's finest structures. The question becomes one of how to bring him down. The psychoanalysis and the investigation dovetail, leading their proponents all over the maze which is Manhattan. Opium dens, immigrants, society dinner parties, and financial corruption all muddy the waters, and the East River itself nearly claims the lives of Younger and Littlemore. The case is an interesting one, made all the more so by the injection of real historical elements and personages. It's also great fun hearing Freud's own ideas about motives and causes. A word of warning to the squeamish - there are passages in this novel that are graphically violent. It's possible to skip over these without losing the thread.
Dr. Younger and Dr. Freud

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December 07, 2010
Sounds like an interesting premise for a historical fiction piece.
 
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More The Interpretation of Murder: ... reviews
review by . April 12, 2007
The author has taken an actual event, Freud's visit to the U.S. in 1909, and woven around it a mysterious and harrowing tale. There are murders of young women, and an American colleague of Freud's is enlisted to analyse one of the surviving victims. This story is a real page-turner, with enough red herrings to fill a rather large fish tank. The characters are well drawn, particularly Freud and Jung, and we witness the beginning of the historic split between the two men. I downgraded this book because …
review by . September 15, 2006
For a month in 1909, Sigmund Freud paid his only visit to the United States, the guest of Clark University in Massachusetts. But first, he spent a week in New York City, accompanied by his friends, including the Swiss psychologist Carl Jung. He did the usual touristy things. He visited Coney Island and swam in the saltwater swimming pool. He saw Chinatown and the Jewish Ghetto. He saw the Cyrprian antiquities at the Metropolitan Museum and walked the grounds of Columbia University. Then, he moved …
About the reviewer
Linda ()
Ranked #55
After 21 years as a school psychologist, I now work part-time at two local historical museums, giving tours and teaching special programs. This leaves me more time to enjoy my little grandchildren, and … more
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It has been said that a mystery novel is "about something" and a literary tale is not.The Interpretation of Murderhas legitimate claims to both genres. It is most definitely about something, and also replete with allusions to and explications of Shakespeare, to the very beginnings of psychology, to the infighting between psychoanalytic giants--all written in a style that an author with literary aspirations might well envy.

In 1909, Drs. Freud and Jung visit Manhattan. They no sooner arrive when a young socialite is murdered, followed by another attempted murder, bearing the same characteristics. In the second case, the victim lives. She has lost her voice and cannot remember anything. The young doctor, Stratham Younger, who has invited Freud to speak at his University, soon involves Dr. Freud in the case. Freud, saying that Nora's case will require a time committment that he does not have, turns her over to Younger. The rudiments of Nora's case are based on Freud's famous Dora, complete with sexual perversions, convoluted twists and turns and downright lies.

That is just one of the myriad plot lines in the novel, all of which are intricate, interesting and plausible. All it takes for all of the incidents to be true is a great deal of bad will--and it is abundant here! There are politicians who are less than statesmen, city employees at work for themselves and not the city, doctors who will do anything to undermine Freud's theories, thereby saving ...

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Details

ISBN-10: 0805080988
ISBN-13: 978-0805080988
Author: Jed Rubenfeld
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.

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