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The Interpretation of Murder by Jed…

The Interpretation of Murder (original 2006; edition 2007)

by Jed Rubenfeld

Series: Stratham Younger (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,582974,184 (3.32)79
Dr. Freud is called in when a young women and her parents are attacked by a killer and she can't remember the details of the attack.
Title:The Interpretation of Murder
Authors:Jed Rubenfeld
Info:Headline Review (2007), Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Interpretation of Murder by Jed Rubenfeld (2006)

  1. 60
    The Alienist by Caleb Carr (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Also about psychological crime solving in NYC at the beginning of the twentieth century, with Teddy Roosevelt this time.
  2. 20
    Freud's Alphabet: A Novel by Jonathan Tel (KayCliff)
  3. 10
    Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow (Booksloth)
  4. 00
    Dark Hearts of Chicago by William Horwood (Booksloth)
  5. 00
    The Other Side of You by Salley Vickers (KayCliff)
    KayCliff: In both novels a psychoanalyst recounts his treatment of a patient
  6. 01
    The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl (edwinbcn)
  7. 01
    Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua (JuliaMaria)
    JuliaMaria: Amy Chua ist die Ehefrau von Jed Rubenfeld. Die Ehe wird eigentlich ausgeklammert in dem Buch der "Tiger-Mutter". Nur in einer Szene wird beschrieben, wie sie bei einem Besuch in London anlässlich der Preisverleihung für das Buch "The Interpretation of Murder" verzweifelt ein Klavier zum Üben für die Töchter gesucht haben.… (more)

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» See also 79 mentions

English (92)  Spanish (2)  Dutch (2)  All languages (96)
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
[This is a review I wrote in 2007]

Not your run-of-the-mill thriller, Jed Rubenfeld has expertly crafted this book around Sigmund Freud's psychological theories, his work, "The Interpretation of Dreams", and his most famously known case-study, "Dora", here in the novel loosely portrayed as the character Nora. There is much debate amongst the characters about Freud's Oedipus complex theory, and a further interwoven strand of analysis involves theories about Shakespeare's "Hamlet", and in particular Freud's Oedipal analysis of Hamlet and Ophelia.

It's an extremely clever blend of fact and fiction, based around Freud & Jung's visit to the US in 1909; the crime, of course, is pure fiction! The plot is fast-paced, with twists, it seems, every few pages. This one really did keep me guessing almost to the very end. Very occasionally the theorising weighs it down just a fraction, hence the 4 stars. An intelligent & intriguing thriller, with likeable characters - I can highly recommend it. ( )
  ArdizzoneFan | Nov 14, 2020 |
An interesting psychological thriller/historical fiction but slow in spots. I didn't love it. ( )
  baruthcook | Aug 26, 2020 |
The denouement was convoluted and slightly unconvincing. And when the author credited his young daughters for helping with the structure of the novel, noting that they read a PG version, I wondered how much narrative was left once the bondage, fellatio, erotic asphyxiation, and flagellation was removed from the plot. Not my taste in literature, personally. I also wondered how plausible, in medical terms, was the hero's death-defying escape from the flooding caisson at the bottom of the river. Can one really escape "the bends" simply by exhaling during a far-too-rapid rise to the surface? The author's impressive educational credentials include legal, psychological, and dramatic background, not medical. But the squabbling amongst the psychoanalysts (often in their own words gleaned from published material) was amusing and New York of 1909 in all its gritty glory was a fascinating panorama. (However, sometimes I suspected Rubenfeld of dragging in irrelevant characters and events simply for purposes of atmosphere, because he felt this or that thing was too interesting to omit. Some also made serviceable red herrings.) I particularly liked the protagonist's take on both the Oedipal theory and Hamlet. I'm tempted to rip out some relevant pages and file them inside one of my reference works on Hamlet... ( )
  muumi | Jun 2, 2019 |
Loved this book. Can't remember the last time I was so engrossed in a novel! Oh wait - I can. It was "the Secret History" by Donna Tartt... ( )
  Antonio_Arch | Mar 14, 2019 |
Having read freud and Jung it was interesting to see them in flesh and blood as characters who play a part in solving the mystery. ( )
  ashkrishwrites | Aug 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 92 (next | show all)
With the stolid and difficult Freud as anchor of his narrative, Rubenfeld takes the reader on a beguiling tour of the opium dens of Chinatown, the haunts of the rich at Gramercy Park and even the subterranean construction site of the Manhattan Bridge under the East River. If he lacks the rigour of a more experienced novelist in fusing the disparate elements in his narrative, his admiration for the troubled Freud carries all before it. When he was studying Freud as a young man, Freud's reputation was in flux, but Rubenfeld was always ready to defend his hero. That enthusiasm is the wellspring of this uneven but dazzling novel.
added by KayCliff | editIndependent, Barry Forshaw (Sep 27, 2006)
THIS much-hyped debut novel, a historical thriller by Jed Rubenfeld, a Yale law professor, deploys the surefire “Da Vinci Code” formula: titillation plus high-culture trivia. Alternating scenes of erotic asphyxiation with references to Copernicus and Hegel, “The Interpretation of Murder” takes as its subjects Sigmund Freud’s 1909 visit to America and a series of attacks on young society women. The result is both smutty and pretentious....The novel is difficult to put down. Its ironclad, cliffhanger-rich, shooting-script structure makes it a page turner, as do the breathlessly described episodes of oral sex, “CSI”-style forensics and cinematic violence. But, as with a jaw-droppingly bad movie, just because it’s riveting doesn’t mean it’s pleasurable.
added by KayCliff | editNew York Times, Ada Calhoun (Sep 17, 2006)
New York debutantes are not the only potential victims of strangulation in this much-lauded but over-complex novel based on Freud's visit to America in 1909. Professionally, the visit was a success, and Freud's subsequent aversion to all things American has never been explained. Jed Rubenfeld's solution to this mystery involves society balls and mysterious Chinamen, decompression problems in the building of the Manhattan Bridge, vanishing corpses, the breakdown of Freud's relationship with Jung, power struggles between the mayor and Tammany Hall, two secret passages, an enigmatic cabal, bondage, flagellation, murder, and much, much more. Too much, in fact. However, a book which might have been an impossible tangle is held together by the enthusiastic intelligence of the author, who has vividly evoked a city and a revolutionary movement just at the moment of their emerging greatness. Yet somewhere in its Freudian subconscious a simpler and perhaps stronger story of power, skulduggery and romance is struggling to get out.

» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jed Rubenfeldprimary authorall editionscalculated
Zuppet, RobertaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Dr. Freud is called in when a young women and her parents are attacked by a killer and she can't remember the details of the attack.

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