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three therapy sessions, three days of life, and a set of free associations
on 20 May 2013
Over three days in her life, Elizabeth Kiehl attends three therapy sessions - she has been in therapy for 8 years, following a traumatic accident to close family members on the day set for her wedding - lives three days of her life (the main events are a visit with her husband, to a brothel, a sexual encounter with her husband, and an attack of worms affecting herself, her daughter, her estranged former boyfriend and possibly her husband). And she free associates about the accident, about her early life (we never quite get to the bottom of her early relationship with her mother), and about the present (she and her husband particularly look after the environment and worry about their relationships - which she self-destructively attacks).
I did not find that this book outstayed its welcome. But equally it's quite hard to pin down what makes it so (comparatively) readable - it is not a page-turner and is not strongly plotted. Turning to the people, Elizabeth and her husband - and everyone they know - has serious problems in life, but are not portrayed in a deeply sympathetic way - probably the key to that is we do not get to understand them through and through. Perhaps this holds the interest simply because it offers is a very unusual take on life, as Elizabeth struggles to understand herself and the world she lives in.