THE INTERPRETATION OF MURDER is probably the most hyped thriller of the year. This debut novel, which takes place in New York during the summer of 1909, promises an exciting murder mystery where the legendary Dr. Sigmund Freud tries to track down a killer of a young society woman.
As a thriller, I must admit this novel really disappointed me. Freud is not a central character in this book at all. Instead, this novel features a large number of characters, and author Jed Rubenfeld keeps shifting the focus from one character to another. As a result, none of the characters are fully developed and many of them end up as slightly cartoonish.
In particular, I was heavily displeased with how Dr. Carl Jung was portrayed in this novel. Rubenfeld portrays Jung as a thoroughly unlikable person, a borderline psychopath with virtually no redeemable qualities whatsoever. Freud, by contrast, is portrayed as a virtual saint. Although I am not an expert on either man, I...
I don't especially consider myself a fan of historical fiction. But every now and then I stumble upon a novel that's purely entertaining. The Interpretation of Murder is one such novel, and I have to say that the depiction of New York in 1909 was my favorite part of the book. The city itself is like a character!
It's clear that debut novelist Rubenfeld did his research. Not just about the city, but also about his famous characters. The novel is set during the one and only visit of Sigmund Freud to America. Apparently, for the rest of his life Freud referred to Americans as "savages" and spoke disparagingly of the US. It's a true historical mystery, because no one knows what may have happened while Freud was here that so soured the man on this country and its people.
In the mystery of this book, Freud visits America with his desciple Carl Jung and gets involved with a murder. The psychologists--along with a fictional counterpart, Dr. Stratham Younger--are...
This book has been deceptively promoted as a mystery and one in which Freud (in America in 1909 to deliver a lecture at a university) helps to solve a murder. This book is neither of those things! There is no crime-solving in this story: the murderer simply confesses. Freud does not become involved in the murder investigation, focused as he is on averting a potential cancellation of his lecture due to American controversy over his theory and practice of psychoanalysis. Freud's contribution to the book consists of his supplying New York's mayor a professional referral to one Dr. Streatham Younger, an American psychiatrist and narrator of this story who is attracted to Freud's theories. Younger takes up the referral and attempts to apply Freud's approach to the treatment of a young lady's sudden speech paralysis that has followed an attack upon her by someone who may or not also be the murderer in the police investigation.
The clunky prose and dialogue of this book create a...
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