A Novel

Book - 2005
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During her decade in prison, Kate Fitzgerald has learned a few things. The best way to survive is to absorb yourself in your own world. Never make eye contact with your fellow inmates. And the last person you can trust is your prison psychiatrist -- not only is he likely to be lazy and incompetent (really, why else wouldn't he be getting rich off of well-heeled clients instead?) but if you complain about him you're going to be labelled as a "permanent malcontent" and denied parole. So when Dr. Gardonne offers Kate a temporary absence and a job working for him, she only takes it because she knows that turning him down could be worse for her in the long run -- counted in prison years, of course. But the real challenge is figuring out why he would chooseher. On the surface, it's pretty clear. Kate has spent her incarceration immersing herself in the writings of Sigmund Freud, and has become a recognized expert on his work. Dr. Gardonne represents the members of a psychoanalytic organization that is being attacked at its core: Anders Konzak, the hand-picked director of the Freud academy, has been boasting to the media that his new research on Freud will bring the entire profession of psychoanalysis to its knees. He's also been receiving death threats. And Kate, as an outsider, is the only one Konzak will talk to. Though she doesn't trust Gardonne, Kate accepts his offer, and she races to uncover Konzak's secrets before he publishes his work. Never one to work well with others, Kate is less than thrilled to find out Gardonne has hired a private detective to be her partner. Jackie Lawton is a hardened ex-con who has spent most of his life in prison and only recently turned things around by starting his own business. From the moment the two meet, Kate sees that it won't be easy working with a man who isn't really interested in the intellectual battle at hand and who keeps her prison time at the forefront of every conversation. And can he really be trusted? When key players -- who were all last seen with Kate -- begin to turn up dead, there's the very real possibility she's being set up by Gardonne. After all, who would believe the word of a convict serving time for murdering her husband? All she can hope is that following the threads of Konzak's research to his sources will keep her one step ahead of Gardonne and lead her to the real killer. WithSeduction,Catherine Gildiner gives us not only a gripping detective story full of shifting characters and fast-paced twists but a remarkable intellectual thriller. Through the letters and papers of Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and the venerable Wedgwood family, Gildiner brings the personalities and ideological conflicts of the past to life in the present. Along the way we meet an assortment of characters, from social misfits to the demure but resolute Anna Freud, who is still living in the London house where she brought her ailing father for the last year of his life, and where she actively guards his legacy. The story takes us from Toronto to Vienna, London, the Isle of Wight, New York and back again to Toronto -- each locale seen through the eyes of Kate, who relishes in the beauty of a world that has been denied to her for a decade.
Publisher: Toronto : A.A. Knopf Canada, 2005.
ISBN: 9780676976533
Characteristics: vi, 486 p. ;,23 cm.


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WVMLStaffPicks Jan 19, 2015

Trained by her father as a rational intellectual who distrusts emotion, Kate Fitzgerald puts her lengthy stay in prison for murdering her husband to good use by studying the work of Sigmund Freud. When the reputation of Freud is threatened by the Director of the “Freud Academy”, Kate is teamed with another ex-con and sent to examine the Director’s arguments. Their quest takes them to Europe and back, narrowly escaping re-arrest as key players are murdered. This mystery puts a new slant on Freud’s and Darwin’s theories.

What a fun read for anyone with an interest in Freud and the history of psychonalalysis. Great repartee and interesting mix of plot and reflection of the detectives' own repressive upbringing as it bears on solving the murder. The author has her own psychoanalytic practice in Toronto so the insights ring true despite the unusual psyches of the detectives. There is a little 'lacuna' ( as K. would say) in the early part of the plot, but keep reading, it picks up.

Dec 19, 2008

Suffers a little from some continuity problems that a good re-edit might address. Very enjoyable.

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