SECRET DREAMS by Keith Korman

SECRET DREAMS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Over a decade after Archangel, Korman returns with a passionate but uneven tale of ritual and rebirth in the early days of psychoanalysis, based on the case of FrÑulein S. ``I'm the Queen of Sparta with a hot rear end!'' With these words young Sabine Schanderein breaks her years-long silence and presents her doctor, junior physician Carl Jung of the Burghîlzli Mental Hospital in Zurich, with yet another enigma. Deposited a few months earlier by her frostbitten father and cold-blooded but fragile mother, her unchanged head-to-toe wrapping and unearthly shrieks at any disturbance offer little hope for a cure. Through patience and understanding, though, Jung gets the girl to talk, only to be cast as her partner in ancient fertility rituals that she directs. Baffled, he contacts Freud, then virtually unknown, for consultation. With persistence and Freud's aid, the riddle of the ritual is solved; Sabine begins to find herself, but when she takes an apartment in Zurich, continuing her therapy with Jung at his home, the previously curbed lust of both therapist and patient is unleashed in their sessions. Cured, and in love, she demands that Jung leave his wife, but Emma's timely pregnancy returns her wayward husband to her and the case is closed. Framing this often gripping mix of insight and insanity are stranger, less compelling visions of the three principals at the ends of their lives--Freud feeling up nurses and dying of cancer in London; FrÑulein S., an analyst herself, being snuffed out along with her children's clinic during a Stalinist purge; Jung, ailing in mind and body, burning the mementos of his greatest, most painful achievement. Frustrating for its inconsistency and excesses, but still worth the effort: a novel that well conveys the life-altering drama of madness and psychoanalysis come face to face.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-55970-288-5
Page count: 448pp
Publisher: Arcade
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1995