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Split personality. Liking the arts, especially opera, and hockey and Los Toros. I know, I know THAT one is non pc currently. But I can't help it saw some in Spain and got hooked, but good. But on the other hand right now opera and hockey are in the forefront!


Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Death in Vienna...

That IS Vienna in 1902, not Venice.
Although they both begin with a V (in English).
 "A Death In Vienna" is novel of the crime genre written by a bona fide British psychoanalyst-by-profession author.
So I was not at all surprised to find the book populated by notable names of psychoanalysis and psychiatry, albeit in very minor roles, such as Freud, Jung, Adler..etc.

But in the end it is detective novel. The wits and analytical reasoning, mostly based on the early, then still very controversial, findings of Prof. Freud, by the protagonist, Dr. Liebermann, saved the day for a more pedestrian detective - even though smothered in whipped cream, Apfelstrudel and other Viennese pastries (very prevalent throughout the novel :-)!) to distract from the facts. Hmm..or rather mhh.. sweets and sex do seem to go hand in hand, at least in this Vienna .. just saying!
After all where else does one call one's sweetheart ( there - sweet again) "My Dumpling", and other Kosenamen(pet name) based on culinary treats!

And accompanied by deliciously named coffees of the sort that one only finds in Vienna cafes and the Hotel Imperial lounge which is the venue for many meetings between the Dr. and his father. Even that may hint at analysis..father and son with conflicting ideas?

A bit of antisemitism thrown in-vide Mayor Lueger and cohorts, the protagonist is a Jewish Doctor.
A bit of political mud racking and cover ups -a public figure abuses governess with assist of his own wife -do make for a rather up-to-date feeling.
And the famous General Hospital of Vienna (est. 1697) where 'orthodox' medicine is performed (in the book) and the NEW fangled ideas of Freud and ilk are very much distrusted!
The Narrenturm at the AKH, built to house mad inmates, not too long ago was still used as housing for nurses and technicians in training at the Hospital-all rooms are round ;-)! well it does NOT actually feature in the novel but I thought it kinda appropriate ;-) to include the picture of it here!
It is actually well written, elegantly conveys the feel of that OLD Vienna, under the Emperor Franz-Joseph, on the brink of a new science.
But nostalgia for a fin-de-siecle life of a literature, a culture of
multi-ethnic influences which molded Vienna and Austria in history all comes together in the hands of this author. All in all, recommended reading on a hot summer day.
Other books by Author Frank Tallis are : "Vienna Blood" and "Fatal Lie".

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