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Perlman's Ordeal

Hansen, Brooks

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ISBN 10: 0374230781 / ISBN 13: 9780374230784
Verlag: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1999
Gebraucht Zustand: Fine Hardcover
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0374230781 Near fine in near fine dust jacket. First edition Quality, Value, Experience. Media Shipped in New Boxes. Buchnummer des Verkäufers BING7393623

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Bibliografische Details

Titel: Perlman's Ordeal

Verlag: Farrar Straus Giroux

Erscheinungsdatum: 1999

Einband: Hardcover


Zustand des Schutzumschlags: Dust Jacket Included

Auflage: 1st Edition

Über diesen Titel


An enthralling novel about spiritualism, the symphony, and the lost city of Atlantis.

London, 1906. Dr. August Perlman-music lover, opium addict, and pioneer of "clinical suggestion"-is on his way to the symphony when a teenage girl is brought to his office. Sylvie Blum is catatonic, unwashed, and dehydrated. It seems that another girl's personality is living inside her.

Perlman goes to the symphony anyway, and meets the charismatic spiritualist Madame Helena Barrett, who soon gets young Sylvie to talk. Her story bears astonishing resemblances to the myth of Atlantis. The girl within the girl says she once lived there.

The doctor wants to suppress her story; the spiritualist is desperate to hear it told. And so they battle for the soul of the girl, both in London and in the world of wonders that is the imagination. Their conflict is overshadowed by the ghost of Madame's late brother, a composer whose life and work are brilliantly imagined by the author.

Brooks Hansen's novel The Chess Garden was acclaimed as "a marvel of attention to the things of this world, and worlds beyond" (Jay Parini, The New York Times Book Review). In Perlman's Ordeal, he once again takes the world of myth and brings it keenly to life in the pages of a novel.


Dr. August Perlman lives a well-regulated life. His Clinic for Suggestive Therapy is tremendously successful--mainly because he never takes on a patient he isn't sure he can cure. His personal life is remarkably free of muss and fuss, and he likes it that way; in fact, the only passion he truly surrenders to is classical music, particularly the works of the late composer Alexander Barrett. The year is 1906 and the field of psychotherapy is still in its infancy, struggling to establish itself as a real science and not the redheaded stepchild of supernatural bunkum. Indeed, Dr. Perlman is especially sensitive to anything that smacks of the mystical, so when a young girl he has only reluctantly accepted as a patient suddenly starts channeling the spirit of a long-dead divinity named Oona, he is not amused:

Perlman returned to his office. His medical journal was waiting there, opened to the page of notes he'd already begun. He wrote the time--11:30--but then he paused. His pen hesitated above the paper, as if to commit this evening's episode to ink were to lend it a credence it might not merit, and credence was the first step down many a wayward path.
The good doctor shakes off this brush with the supernatural and returns to his ordered ways, which includes a concert of music by Sibelius. While there, he is introduced to Helena Barrett, the sister of his idol, and finds himself simultaneously attracted by her beauty, intelligence, and wit and repelled by her obvious interest in spiritualism. His defenses against the unexpected already cracked, he is completely undone when a chance meeting between Helena and his patient leads him down a very wayward path, indeed. Soon Perlman is up to his neck in Theosophy, theatricals, and myths of the lost city of Atlantis--and battling his own unleashed desires even as he fights for the soul of his patient. Brooks Hansen's second novel is by turns humorous, suspenseful, and profound, a marvelous follow-up to The Chess Garden. --Margaret Prior

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