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The Interpretation of Murder (Large Print) Unknown Binding – 2007

3.1 out of 5 stars 258 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 567 pages
  • Publisher: W F Howes Ltd, Leicester (2007)
  • ASIN: 1846329361
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (258 customer reviews)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
OK I'll admit it I'm a fan of the Richard and Judy book club! When I heard the review of this book I knew that I would have to read it, as it deals with three of my favourite things: - Freud, Murder literature and New York (not necessarily in that order). The author is the current Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University. At Princeton he wrote his senior thesis on Freud and at the Juilliard School of Drama studied Shakespeare. Both of these influences are clearly seen in this his first novel. The title is a play on Freud's famous work `The Interpretation of Dreams', the central character Nora, is modelled on the case study of `Dora' and many references are made to the Oedipal explanation of Hamlet.

This book is a work of fiction, but there are some historical truths. Freud did indeed make his one and only visit to New York in 1909, along with Jung. His biographers have long puzzled over the trauma that must have happened there as he refused to speak about it and in fact labelled Americans `savages'.

The story begins with Freud's arrival in New York, the very next morning a beautiful heiress is found bound and strangled in her apartment. The following night another, Nora Acton is discovered bound and wounded, but still alive. The attack has left her unable to speak or remember anything about her ordeal. Freud and a young American, Stratham Younger are enlisted to help Nora Action recover her memory in order to catch the killer.

Being a thriller, the story has numerous twists and turns and, of course, the obligatory twist at the end. However, along the way it beautifully blends fact and fiction, psychoanalytical theory and a vibrant picture of New York society and history.
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By Johnnybluetime VINE VOICE on 10 Oct. 2007
Format: Paperback
I think 3 stars is just about right for this book.Set during Freud's visit to New York around the turn of the last century it works reasonably well,but the writing is at times very clumsy and uninvolving.Every now and then the narrative stops and the author presents us with a great slab of description of a building or a large chunk of local history.That apart,it's a reasonable plot, although not one that will tax your intelligence too much,and the characters are fairly well drawn without ever being compelling.

I have to say that Caleb Carr did this sort of thing far,far, better in The Alienist,where he manages to work both period detail and a brief history of psychology fairly seamlessly into a far better narrative.Given that both books are set in New York in similar periods and with similar protaganists I would certainly recommend Carr's book over this one any day.

Another triumph of marketing over talent I'm afraid,but reasonably diverting nevertheless,although I wouldn't really recommend it.
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Format: Paperback
This is one of the best books of 2006. Very intelligently written by a Psychology Professor, it intermixes fact with fiction. The writer neatly ties things up in the end with a chapter outlining the factual aspects of the book, clearly having researched passionately on his subject. Don't think Dan Brown, this is an intelligent and gripping read following Freud on his American tripp and unravelling a murder mystery. As well as the factual accuracy, the book doesn't skimp on twists and turns and keeps the keen crime reader hooked till the end. A must read for any crime fan, hopefully before Hollywood comandeers this as a film.
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Format: Paperback
Although I am not much of a reader of crime novels, I found myself devouring this book in a matter of days. Rubenfeld has a weaved a captivating and complex plot, placed it in a highly interesting context, added some effective suspension techniques, hereby creating a compelling narrative that is difficult to put down.

Set in New York City during the early 1900's, this book involves Sigmund Freud and his revolutionary psychoanalysis movement, bringing the reader not only suspense but also food for thought.

The author has clearly performed meticulous research on the novel. There are many historical details of New York City, involving not only major architectural changes such as sky scrapers and suspension bridges, but also the goings on in high society, and the poor living and working conditions of the less fortunate. Also impressive is his knowledge of psychoanalysis, which he successfully breaks down into basics, educating the reader in the process.

However, I found the unraveling of the plot a little too farfetched. Furthermore, I believe the characters are not well enough developed; even though this book is full of psychological theories, the characters remain flat as a board. I would therefore not call this a psychological thriller, but a crime novel with psychological aspects.

Also I found Rubenfeld's description of the scenes a little poor. He focuses mainly on what can be seen or heard, but he hardly describes how the characters feel, what they smell, etc., making this more an account of events, herein failing to bring the reader a sense of presence and creating distance between the story and the reader.

So my conclusion is that this book is definitely interesting enough to pick up, it is a very entertaining and educational read, though by no means is it groundbreaking or revolutionary.
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