Sunday, June 30, 2013

343 (2013 #27). Freud's Mistress

by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman

What's known:  Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, corresponded with his sister-in-law Minna Bernays,  a spinster who moved in with Freud, his wife Martha (Minna's sister), and their six children in 1896, and lived with them for the next 42 years.

What's suspected:  Freud may have had an affair with Minna, who may have even become pregnant by him. 

This book takes these pieces of information and constructs historical fiction around them.  Unfortunately, it's so little information, and the novel is so long (351 pages), that I lost interest about halfway through.

The characters aren't particularly likeable.  Freud is a pompous, self-centered jerk.  His wife sometimes seems to know more than she lets on, and sometimes seems clueless.  Minna spends most of the novel feeling guilty.

The novel does do a good job of presenting life in turn-of-the-century Vienna and Europe, including the limited options for a single woman of that day (ladies' companion or governess, it seems).

Perhaps if this book was around 200 pages long, I could recommend it.  As it's not - I'd give it a pass.

© Amanda Pape - 2013

[This uncorrected proof was obtained through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program, and will be passed on to someone else to enjoy.]

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