NO VOICE IS EVER WHOLLY LOST by Louise J. Kaplan

NO VOICE IS EVER WHOLLY LOST

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A wide-ranging, profound study of how the primal human dialogue between parent and child continues after the death of one partner through various adaptive strategies by the survivor. Psychologist Kaplan (Female Perversions, 1990) observes that ``however old or young a person is when a parent dies, an effort is always made to resume the dialogue that was interrupted and to make it right.'' Such is the case even when a parent is emotionally abusive (sometimes leading the inner dialogue to become distorted into psychosis), a victim of massive trauma (e.g., some Holocaust survivors), or ``psychologically dead'' as a result of deep depression. Among the many illustrative case studies Kaplan explores are those of Freud's famous patient Daniel Paul Schreber and of Anne-Justine-Caroline Flaubert (Gustave's mother), whose melancholia following multiple losses affected her son's disposition, creativity, and ability to achieve independence. With equal acuity, Kaplan examines parents' attempts at continuing a dialogue with children who have died, noting that, if the death of a parent represents the loss of the past, that of a child often seems more disorienting and devastating, for it signifies the unnatural loss of the future. While most of Kaplan's book deals with what psychotherapists refer to as the ``introjection'' of a parent or other significant figure, a kind of unconscious grafting of parts of his or her perceived traits, she also devotes two chapters to parents who maintained dialogues with children murdered by terrorists through political activism, or what might be called ``social externalization.'' Kaplan is very adept at elucidating underlying emotional dynamics in both case studies and in literary or artistic works; her fascinating penultimate chapter is on the surrealist painter RenÇ Magritte. Occasionally bogged down in overanalysis, but generally a probing, sensitive, and finely crafted work that deserves a wide readership among clinicians and laypeople.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-671-79868-5
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1995