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The Interpretation of Murder (original 2006; edition 2006)

by Jed Rubenfeld

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2,324902,716 (3.32)77
Member:pstobbs
Title:The Interpretation of Murder
Authors:Jed Rubenfeld
Info:Holtzbrinck Publishers (2006), Edition: First Edition, Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld (2006)

Recently added bycharlie_c67, private library, Tremendamente, kathmaag, kidmd2, jkrzok, Jaguilar64, vesca, dorie.craig
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Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
A nonsensical, sub-Alienist serial killer plot? Yawn. Freud? Sure. Long digressions into Hamlet? Whatever. This book felt like three (each not very good) novels mashed together. See, this is what sometimes happens when intellectuals write novels. They just HAVE to show how smart they are. I thought this sounded interesting, but Rubenfeld comes off as particularly insufferable and pompous, and none of the characters were interesting enough to redeem the tedium. Sorry. ( )
  sansmerci | Jul 16, 2017 |
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. On one hand it was thoroughly researched and anyone who is really interested in Freud and Jung and their beliefs would probably enjoy it more than I did. Unfortunately I was never very fascinated with either of them, so some of this book was a bit of a slog for me. But the author really brought to life the time period, and the two primary characters (Stratham Younger and Detective Littlemore) are interestingly written and worthy of respect. Rubenfeld did lose me a little at the end in his resolution of the crime. It seemed overly complicated and very difficult to follow. While this particular story didn't bowl me over, I am looking forward to reading the follow-up book. ( )
  dorie.craig | Jun 22, 2017 |
I really enjoyed the concept of this story. Perhaps because you don't get a lot of mysteries or psychological thrillers (if you can really call it that) that directly involve psychology, but I really can't say for sure. By all accounts though, I shouldn't have liked it. It was choppy and difficult to follow at times. There were a number of story lines that were introduced and only referenced occasionally, then disappeared for half the book before popping up again towards the very end. In fact, there was one story line that was completely unnecessary except to use as blackmail at the very end. Other than that, it really served no purpose and really didn't belong in as much detail as it was presented. It only caused confusion and could have just as easily been referenced occasionally in other sections, which it also was, without being made its own chunk of the story.

Now, for the characters. I'm really not sure why this is considered a "Freud" series, since he plays a comparatively trivial role when put up against Younger, Littlemore and the remainder of the cast. He acts as a sounding board for Younger in his psychoanalysis of Miss Action after her alleged attack. As a character, he really doesn't do much, though his presence results in a mysterious sub-plot. Younger really is the star of the show, working with Miss Action to regain her memory, helping the police, parading around society, falling in love, debating Shakespeare and psychology (usually together). Jung is another character I could have done without. Didn't really do anything except be a jerk and make Freud seem more relevant. Detective Littlemore, on the other hand, definitely doesn't get enough credit in these pages until the very end, although it seems like an afterthought at that point. His character development was probably the best in the book, even if it was relatively simple compared to the others, but then again, he seems like a simple man, so maybe it's fitting.

I love that Littlemore was able to stick to his guns and solve the case, although, to be honest, I had to read some of those paragraphs a few times to figure out where exactly he was going with some of it. The solution was a convoluted mess and worked with the choppiness of the novel itself but wasn't exactly reader friendly. My biggest recommendation is not to read the final few chapters if you're not mentally awake enough to do so because it will result in confusion and several re-readings.

Overall a good book. Not sure why it really tickled my fancy like it did, but I'd definitely recommend it. ( )
  cebellol | Jun 6, 2017 |
I wanted to like this much better than I did.

It is mostly written third person. But every so often it switches to 1st person in the view of Dr. Younger. I found the switch to 1st person jarring. Dr. Younger's father did not believe in showing or expressing any emotion. Dr. Younger's father had committed suicide. Still Dr. Younger admires his father's ability to always appear calm. So he is willing to talk about feelings, but not show them. Dr. Younger tries to analyze everything. Which is probably a good trait fro a psychoanalysis, but makes for a dull 1st person view. Also I was annoyed with his admiring his father for not showing any emotion. Yes his father appeared calm, but the fact that he commuted suicide show it was false.

I felt like I didn't know enough about Freud and Jung to quite get what was going on between them. Jung's behavior often made no sense to me. This book didn't make me care enough about them to want to go and find out more.

I found the twist annoying sometimes. Things start to look like they were adding up and then suddenly it changes. I felt like I was being jerked around.

The police detective Littlemore was my favorite and the most interesting character. ( )
  nx74defiant | Aug 19, 2016 |
I really loved this book. Great descriptions of fledgling New York city. An unpredictable and suspensful plot. Great read! ( )
  Laurochka | Feb 6, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jed Rubenfeldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zuppet, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Amy
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There is no mystery to happiness.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312427050, Paperback)

It has been said that a mystery novel is "about something" and a literary tale is not. The Interpretation of Murder has legitimate claims to both genres. It is most definitely about something, and also replete with allusions to and explications of Shakespeare, to the very beginnings of psychology, to the infighting between psychoanalytic giants--all written in a style that an author with literary aspirations might well envy.

In 1909, Drs. Freud and Jung visit Manhattan. They no sooner arrive when a young socialite is murdered, followed by another attempted murder, bearing the same characteristics. In the second case, the victim lives. She has lost her voice and cannot remember anything. The young doctor, Stratham Younger, who has invited Freud to speak at his University, soon involves Dr. Freud in the case. Freud, saying that Nora's case will require a time committment that he does not have, turns her over to Younger. The rudiments of Nora's case are based on Freud's famous Dora, complete with sexual perversions, convoluted twists and turns and downright lies.

That is just one of the myriad plot lines in the novel, all of which are intricate, interesting and plausible. All it takes for all of the incidents to be true is a great deal of bad will--and it is abundant here! There are politicians who are less than statesmen, city employees at work for themselves and not the city, doctors who will do anything to undermine Freud's theories, thereby saving the neurotics for themselves, and opportunists at every level of society, seeking psychological or material advantage. Carl Jung is portrayed by turns as secretive, mysterious, odd, and just plain nuts, while Freud remains a gentleman whose worst problem is his bladder.

Not the least interesting aspect of the book is all the turn-of-the-century New York lore: bridge building, great mansions, the Astor versus Vanderbilt dustup, immigrant involvement, fabulous entertaining, auto versus carriage. Despite the tangle of tales, debut author Jed Rubenfeld finishes it with writerly dexterity--and the reader is sorry to see it all end. --Valerie Ryan

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:55 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

'The Interpretation of Murder' is an inventive tour de force inspired by Sigmund Freud's 1909 visit to America, accompanied by protege and rival Carl Jung.

(summary from another edition)

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