Fiction Thomas Eating Pavlova

ISBN 13: 9780786702701

Eating Pavlova

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9780786702701: Eating Pavlova

A fascinating foray into the most influential mind of the 20th century, D.M. Thomas plunges into the last morphine-clouded days of Sigmund Freud's life--where his devoted daughter Anna tends to him, trying to understand her icon's demise as he drifts through the final layers of his own consciousness.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Thomas (Pictures at an Exhibition, 1993, etc.) slips further down the greasy pole toward literary ignominy in this trashy account of Sigmund Freud's final days. It's 1939, and Freud is in Hampstead dying of cancer--a situation full of scatological promise for a predictable author like Thomas. During bouts of pain and delirium, Freud recounts episodes real and imaginary from his life, from seeing his mother's pubic hair to watching his nurse miscarry his father's child. The present is also a confusion of dreams and reality for Freud, who often psychoanalyzes what actually happens and takes his lurid fantasies as truth. His daughter, Anna, who nurses him during this time, is the object of Freud's prurience and, in fact, invites it. The second part of the book focuses on Freud's diaries from WW I, a period during which he suffered a nervous breakdown because of an affair he imagined his wife, Martha, was having with a neighbor. That period is also the subject of a story by Anna in which she figures as her father's wife. The final chapters are a series of dreams Freud has just before he dies. These dreams are all scenes of actual events that will take place subsequent to his death: the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Anna shopping for groceries in a modern supermarket, the Vietnam War. Freud is, of course, unaware of his prescience and analyzes the ``death-dreams'' as he would any others (concluding that the mushroom-shaped cloud represents the times he and Anna hunted mushrooms in the woods, and so forth). Thomas rehashes his old material with as little success as he has had in all his latest literary efforts. The only good reading here is when Thomas favors us with borscht-belt jokes; though somewhat gratuitous, they are nonetheless appreciated. Sometimes pretension is just pornography. Drivel. -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

Thomas, whose best-known if not best book remains The White Hotel, is his haunted, obsessive self in this tour de force that combines two of his passionate interests: the dark corners of psychiatry and the ironies of history. He imagines Sigmund Freud as he lies dying in London just before WWII, tenderly nursed by daughter Anna. A tumble of reminiscences, dreams and regrets fills Freud's mind as he recalls his wife, her sister, Freiberg, Vienna and such towering figures in his life as Fleiss and Jung. Fragments of his diary may or may not be true-they may in fact be designed to mislead the faithful Anna about difficult passages of his life. He imagines scenes as they might be fictionalized, showing himself alternately priapic, jealous, remote, complaisant. After a concluding series of dreams, Thomas slyly offers Freud's unconcerned, cut-and-dried interpretations, whereas the reader can see the dreams for the prescient visions they are of the Holocaust, the nuclear bomb, the postwar world. It is a brilliant performance, but unlike such more strongly felt recent Thomas novels as Pictures at an Exhibition and Flying in to Love, it seems no more than just that.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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