Next book

FALSE SELF

THE LIFE OF MUSAD KHAN

Khan is little remembered outside analytical circles today. This likely won’t change that, but it provides insight into the...

A psychoanalytical star comes in for close analysis and is found deeply wanting.

Masud Khan (1924-89) came to London in something of the same way Ramu Gupta comes to New York in the 2002 film The Guru, with only a partially formed idea of what he might do but more than enough charisma to squeak by. He was tall—which, as with all things psychoanalytical, would have implications—and handsome, though with a visible deformity and all its implications. He was also very wealthy, and able to use his money and influence to attain what he wished. As psychoanalyst Hopkins writes in this lucid biography, Khan was a brilliant, impassioned student of literature; late in life, he would insist that a friend acquire a copy of Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot and read it carefully and at once, just because he wanted to talk about it. He brought his literary skills to bear as an editor of psychoanalytic literature, including works by Sigmund Freud and, particularly, of the now highly regarded English analyst D. W. Winnicott (“It was part of the collusion between these two men,” writes Hopkins, using a most loaded word, “that Winnicott got most of the credit, even when Khan provided major help”). Khan was also much in demand as a therapist, though as the years wore on he was increasingly given to destructive relationships with women outside his marriage, including at least one patient, for which he was professionally reprimanded. Khan also became an alcoholic, and, though he battled cancer for years, in the end it was drinking that killed him. Hopkins concludes that Khan was “a brilliant interpreter of the self in his patients, but when it came to understanding himself, he was inconsistent.” As are all of us, which makes Khan’s fall from stardom comprehensible, if perhaps overdue.

Khan is little remembered outside analytical circles today. This likely won’t change that, but it provides insight into the works and days of a talented but tormented man.

Pub Date: Dec. 26, 2006

ISBN: 1-59051-069-0

Page Count: 568

Publisher: Other Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2006

Next book

NIGHT

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Next book

INTO THE WILD

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor...

The excruciating story of a young man on a quest for knowledge and experience, a search that eventually cooked his goose, told with the flair of a seasoned investigative reporter by Outside magazine contributing editor Krakauer (Eiger Dreams, 1990). 

Chris McCandless loved the road, the unadorned life, the Tolstoyan call to asceticism. After graduating college, he took off on another of his long destinationless journeys, this time cutting all contact with his family and changing his name to Alex Supertramp. He was a gent of strong opinions, and he shared them with those he met: "You must lose your inclination for monotonous security and adopt a helter-skelter style of life''; "be nomadic.'' Ultimately, in 1992, his terms got him into mortal trouble when he ran up against something—the Alaskan wild—that didn't give a hoot about Supertramp's worldview; his decomposed corpse was found 16 weeks after he entered the bush. Many people felt McCandless was just a hubris-laden jerk with a death wish (he had discarded his map before going into the wild and brought no food but a bag of rice). Krakauer thought not. Admitting an interest that bordered on obsession, he dug deep into McCandless's life. He found a willful, reckless, moody boyhood; an ugly little secret that sundered the relationship between father and son; a moral absolutism that agitated the young man's soul and drove him to extremes; but he was no more a nutcase than other pilgrims. Writing in supple, electric prose, Krakauer tries to make sense of McCandless (while scrupulously avoiding off-the-rack psychoanalysis): his risky behavior and the rites associated with it, his asceticism, his love of wide open spaces, the flights of his soul.

A wonderful page-turner written with humility, immediacy, and great style. Nothing came cheap and easy to McCandless, nor will it to readers of Krakauer's narrative. (4 maps) (First printing of 35,000; author tour)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1996

ISBN: 0-679-42850-X

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Villard

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 1995

Close Quickview