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The Fig Eater

by

The Fig Eater Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Vienna, 1910 — Freud's Vienna, a city of horse-drawn carriages and masked balls, gaslit cafis and Biedermeier furniture — hovers on the threshold between darkness and light, superstition and science.

The murder of Dora, the haunted daughter of a respectable bourgeois family, is being investigated by the Inspector, newly schooled in rationalist criminology. Almost every aspect of the case remains hidden, untouchable. He recognizes uncertainty as part of solving the crime and knows that — what is unspoken remains most powerful. He is trying to find the "error in the situation" — that small link that will lead him to the truth. His wife, Erszebet, a Hungarian steeped in intuition and the lore of Gypsy mysticism, becomes obsessed with the murder and launches her own parallel, secret investigation. She is sure that the figs found in Dora s stomach are the clue to the identity of the murderer — for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of the year. With the help of a young British governess, she unmasks an entirely other face of the crime, and of the society that would prefer it to be repressed forever.

In her brooding, atmospheric, and meticulously researched debut thriller, Jody Shields resurrects turn-of-the-century Vienna with luscious details about food, botany, and fashion, descriptions of perverse medical practices, and hints at sexual secrets. The Fig Eater is a great suspense puzzle in which each piece gathered challenges our perceptions and leads us to the novel's shocking climax.

Review:

"A sprinkling of Hungarian legend and Gypsy lore adds another layer of color to Shields's evocation of the era, while literary references...botanical information and the engaging details of Viennese life build a picture of a city in the throes of turbulent intellectual and social change." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"The Fig Eater, a first novel by Jody Shields, takes readers, with mesmerizing clarity, to Vienna in 1911...Through overlapping perspectives, Ms. Shields flashes dazzling stereopticon slides of a city floating between opposites: the fading 19th century and the bustling 20th, the analytical male point of view and the intuitive female, the scientific and the superstitious. Ms. Shields has a powerful gift for poetic and painterly imagery. Her startling scenes, rich in metaphor, linger long in memory." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Shield's prose is incredibly rich...filled with a wealth of detail...rarely loses sight if the plot and delivers a first novel that is stylish and compelling." Chicago Tribune

Review:

"Shields is an intelligent writer unafraid to take chances, and this is a promising debut." Booklist

Review:

"Shields imparts a wealth of Eastern European gypsy folklore as well as seductive period detail on photography, arcane medical procedures, and prevailing sexual psychology. This is a masterpiece for all suspense collections." Library Journal

Synopsis:

When a young woman's body is discovered in the summer of 1910 Vienna, the Inspector's wife is certain the figs found in her stomach during the autopsy are the clue to the identity of the murderer--for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of year.

About the Author

Shields has written several screenplays and has a master's degree in art. Her prints are in various collections, including the Museum of Modern Art.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316785266
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Shields, Jody
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Location:
Boston
Subject:
Historical
Subject:
Murder
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Police
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Police Procedural
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Mystery & Detective - Historical
Subject:
Historical fiction
Subject:
Police spouses
Subject:
Vienna
Subject:
Mystery-A to Z
Subject:
Social classes; Strangulation; Murder investigations; Superstition
Copyright:
Edition Description:
1st Back Bay paperback ed.
Series Volume:
no. 24
Publication Date:
20010306
Binding:
Paperback
Language:
English
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
8.5 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.7 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » Historical

The Fig Eater Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$4.50 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Back Bay Books - English 9780316785266 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A sprinkling of Hungarian legend and Gypsy lore adds another layer of color to Shields's evocation of the era, while literary references...botanical information and the engaging details of Viennese life build a picture of a city in the throes of turbulent intellectual and social change." Publishers Weekly
"Review" by , "The Fig Eater, a first novel by Jody Shields, takes readers, with mesmerizing clarity, to Vienna in 1911...Through overlapping perspectives, Ms. Shields flashes dazzling stereopticon slides of a city floating between opposites: the fading 19th century and the bustling 20th, the analytical male point of view and the intuitive female, the scientific and the superstitious. Ms. Shields has a powerful gift for poetic and painterly imagery. Her startling scenes, rich in metaphor, linger long in memory."
"Review" by , "Shield's prose is incredibly rich...filled with a wealth of detail...rarely loses sight if the plot and delivers a first novel that is stylish and compelling."
"Review" by , "Shields is an intelligent writer unafraid to take chances, and this is a promising debut."
"Review" by , "Shields imparts a wealth of Eastern European gypsy folklore as well as seductive period detail on photography, arcane medical procedures, and prevailing sexual psychology. This is a masterpiece for all suspense collections."
"Synopsis" by , When a young woman's body is discovered in the summer of 1910 Vienna, the Inspector's wife is certain the figs found in her stomach during the autopsy are the clue to the identity of the murderer--for there are no fresh figs in Vienna at this time of year.
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