In this ingenious, suspenseful historical thriller, Sigmund Freud is drawn into the mind of a sadistic killer who is savagely attacking Manhattans wealthiest heiresses
Inspired by Sigmund Freuds only visit to America, The Interpretation of Murder is an intricate tale of murder and the minds most dangerous mysteries. It unfurls on a sweltering August evening in 1909 as Freud disembarks from the steamship George Washington, accompanied by Carl Jung, his rival and protégé. Across town, in an opulent apartment high above the city, a stunning young woman is found dangling from a chandelierwhipped, mutilated, and strangled. The next day, a second beautya rebellious heiress who scorns both high society and her less adventurous parentsbarely escapes the killer. Yet Nora Acton, suffering from hysteria, can recall nothing of her attack. Asked to help her, Dr. Stratham Younger, Americas most committed Freudian analyst, calls in his idol, the Master himself, to guide him through the challenges of analyzing this high-spirited young woman whose family past has been as complicated as his own.
The Interpretation of Murder leads readers from the salons of Gramercy Park, through secret passages, to Chinatowneven far below the currents of the East River where laborers are building the Manhattan Bridge. As Freud fends off a mysterious conspiracy to destroy him, Younger is drawn into an equally thrilling adventure that takes him deep into the subterfuges of the human mind.
Richly satisfying, elegantly crafted, The Interpretation of Murder marks the debut of a brilliant, spectacularly entertaining new storyteller.
In 2007 The Interpretation of Murder won the prestigious Best Read of the Year award from Richard and Judy's Bookclub in the UK (comparable to Oprah Winfrey in the USA).
Fun and fantastic. You can look for the deeper meaning in Freud and Jung's lovers' quarrel, or you can just skip to the dirty parts.
New York Daily News
This baroque tale of egos and ids run rampant will be a welcome treat to fans of Caleb Carr's The Alienist . . . Find a couch and prepare for a page-turning session.
Rocky Mountain News
Readers who give this cerebral concoction even the slightest chance will be captivated by its myriad intrigues, its dubious cast of heroes and villains, and its palpable tension .... Proves once again that crime and literature need not be separate beasts. Grade A.
While not as well crafted as Caleb Carr's similarly themed The Alienist, this well-researched and thought-provoking novel is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Filled with period detail, this historical thriller challenges the reader to reason out the mystery. Rubenfeld ....shows great talent for psychological suspense and uses shifting viewpoints to build tension. Fans of Caleb Carr will adore this work.
Meaty and provocative, though also grandiose and calculated.
Matthew Pearl, author of The Dante Club
...a richly motivated thriller that will make you reconsider the mysteries of Freud and Hamlet. Here is a novel that you'll only want to put down in order to think more about the book.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by LHM Great Read This novel is a historical thriller based around Sigmund Freud's only visit to America and the early development of Psychoanalysis. It has a great murder plot with interesting NYC trivia about life in early 19th century. The narrative jumps a bit,... Read More
Rated of 5
by esther fantastic I loved this book. On a usual shopping day, I noticed this book, bought it and saved it for when I had time to read it. Now that I'm through with it, I'm almost in withdrawal. I lent the book to a friend because she couldn't believe it could be... Read More
Rated of 5
by Victoria THOUGHTFUL This is on my top 5 favorite books of all time. It keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. Also I absolutely loved all the psychoanalyst stuff in it. I want to be a psychiatrist when I am older so it was very interesting to read and... Read More
The Interpretation of Murder is
inspired by the real-life mystery
surrounding Freud's one and only
visit to America in 1909 when he came to
deliver lectures at Clark University.
The trip appeared to be a tremendous
success and Freud was portrayed
glowingly in newspapers. However,
he returned to Europe referring to
Americans as "savages" and "primitives"
and blaming America for his breakdown in
health, even though he had been sick
well before visiting the USA.
Although many of Freud's theories have
been rejected, his memory, and some of
his methods, live on. One example
is the "Freudian slip" (medically known
as parapraxia - from the Greek para -
beside, and praxis - action) in which a
slip of the tongue is thought to reveal
a repressed motive. Another, is
the "talking-cure" - when Freud first...
What is it to be human? This question, as in Birdsong, is at the heart of Human Traces. Set in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, this is an extraordinary novel that brings to vivid life, through the story of the volatile friendship and dedicated careers of two determined men, the epic quest to map the human mind.
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