Michaelos's first novel is the story—told through letters and diary entries—of Freud's treatment of his first hysteria patient- -here known as Lucy O. The young and just-married Freud (it's 1886) believes that Lucy suffers from childhood seduction by her imperious and unpleasant father; but in the treatment (through hypnosis) that he embarks upon, the ambitious young doctor has an even deeper quarry: he suspects that the repressed forces of prehistoric myth themselves are surfacing to produce the attractive young girl's hysteria. ``The patient is, in fact,'' writes Freud, ``greatly discontented with being a girl,'' and, under hypnosis, Lucy recites long passages of a poem about fleet-footed Atalanta, the mythic girl who, alone among male hunters, took part in the slaying of the Calydonian Boar. As he does his own literary research into the myth of that hunt from pre-antiquity, Freud finds himself (following Lucy's father's death in an apparent hunting accident) so drawn to his patient that he, too, seduces her—with results that will lead him later to Greece and the site of ancient Delphi, where the alluring wife of Heinrich Schliemann, discover of the ruins of ancient Troy, is working on her own archaeological dig and caring for the still-mysterious—and pregnant—Lucy. In Greece, there will be cataclysm (volcano), sex (oral), childbirth (stillborn), and lots of talk (``But we don't have time today to probe the mystery of the emergence of literature from mythology'') before Freud will at last return to Vienna and his patiently waiting wife, Martha. Akin to other recent dawn-of-psychoanalysis entertainments— When Nietzsche Wept, The Strange Case of Mademoiselle P.—this one, struggling ambitiously to keep up its level of drama, will interest those armchair Freud-sleuths able to overlook a certain amount of woodenness (asks Mrs. Schliemann when meeting the young doctor, ```Then you subscribe completely to the Helmholtz canon of determinism and materialism?''').

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-385-42405-1

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1993

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the...


Hannah’s sequel to Firefly Lane (2008) demonstrates that those who ignore family history are often condemned to repeat it.

When we last left Kate and Tully, the best friends portrayed in Firefly Lane, the friendship was on rocky ground. Now Kate has died of cancer, and Tully, whose once-stellar TV talk show career is in free fall, is wracked with guilt over her failure to be there for Kate until her very last days. Kate’s death has cemented the distrust between her husband, Johnny, and daughter Marah, who expresses her grief by cutting herself and dropping out of college to hang out with goth poet Paxton. Told mostly in flashbacks by Tully, Johnny, Marah and Tully’s long-estranged mother, Dorothy, aka Cloud, the story piles up disasters like the derailment of a high-speed train. Increasingly addicted to prescription sedatives and alcohol, Tully crashes her car and now hovers near death, attended by Kate’s spirit, as the other characters gather to see what their shortsightedness has wrought. We learn that Tully had tried to parent Marah after her father no longer could. Her hard-drinking decline was triggered by Johnny’s anger at her for keeping Marah and Paxton’s liaison secret. Johnny realizes that he only exacerbated Marah’s depression by uprooting the family from their Seattle home. Unexpectedly, Cloud, who rebuffed Tully’s every attempt to reconcile, also appears at her daughter’s bedside. Sixty-nine years old and finally sober, Cloud details for the first time the abusive childhood, complete with commitments to mental hospitals and electroshock treatments, that led to her life as a junkie lowlife and punching bag for trailer-trash men. Although powerful, Cloud’s largely peripheral story deflects focus away from the main conflict, as if Hannah was loath to tackle the intractable thicket in which she mired her main characters.

Unrelenting gloom relieved only occasionally by wrenching trauma; somehow, though, Hannah’s storytelling chops keep the pages turning even as readers begin to resent being drawn into this masochistic morass.

Pub Date: April 23, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-312-57721-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Feb. 18, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet


Debut novel by hip-hop rap artist Sister Souljah, whose No Disrespect (1994), which mixes sexual history with political diatribe, is popular in schools country-wide. In its way, this is a tour de force of black English and underworld slang, as finely tuned to its heroine’s voice as Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. The subject matter, though, has a certain flashiness, like a black Godfather family saga, and the heroine’s eventual fall develops only glancingly from her character. Born to a 14-year-old mother during one of New York’s worst snowstorms, Winter Santiaga is the teenaged daughter of Ricky Santiaga, Brooklyn’s top drug dealer, who lives like an Arab prince and treats his wife and four daughters like a queen and her princesses. Winter lost her virginity at 12 and now focuses unwaveringly on varieties of adolescent self-indulgence: sex and sugar-daddies, clothes, and getting her own way. She uses school only as a stepping-stone for getting out of the house—after all, nobody’s paying her to go there. But if there’s no money in it, why go? Meanwhile, Daddy decides it’s time to move out of Brooklyn to truly fancy digs on Long Island, though this places him in the discomfiting position of not being absolutely hands-on with his dealers; and sure enough the rise of some young Turks leads to his arrest. Then he does something really stupid: he murders his wife’s two weak brothers in jail with him on Riker’s Island and gets two consecutive life sentences. Winter’s then on her own, especially with Bullet, who may have replaced her dad as top hood, though when she selfishly fails to help her pregnant buddy Simone, there’s worse—much worse—to come. Thinness aside: riveting stuff, with language so frank it curls your hair. (Author tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-671-02578-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Pocket

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1999

Did you like this book?