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The Listener

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The Listener Cover

ISBN13: 9780743292825
ISBN10: 0743292820
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

TWO YEARS AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR II, a mysterious figure, Bertram Reiner, appears at Shadowbrook, a private asylum whose elegant hallways, vaulted ceilings, and magnificent grounds suggest a country estate more than a psychiatric hospital. At first, the chief psychiatrist — as genteel as his aristocratic surrounds — considers his charismatic patient to be a classic, though particularly intriguing, case of war neurosis. But as treatment progresses, Dr. Harrison's sense of clarity clouds over, and he is drawn into Bertram's disquieting preoccupations.

Then, late one night, an intruder is sighted on the hospital grounds, the first in a series of uncanny events that appear to the doctor to be strangely linked; clues abound, yet the truth about Bertram seems always to slip away. Meanwhile, Dr. Harrison's own long-buried troubles reemerge with brutal force. As the careful contours of his existence begin to waver, the doctor is plunged into dangerous, compulsive territory.

When Dr. Harrison finds himself spying on his head nurse, Matilda, even following her one midnight through the underground tunnels that join the hospital buildings, he knows there is no turning back. He is desperate to get to the bottom of the intertwining mysteries connecting Bertram, Matilda, and himself, and senses that everything in his life — and theirs — is at stake.

Set against the backdrop of the insanity of war, The Listener explores the havoc historical trauma plays with the psyche, and illuminates the uncertain boundary between sanity and insanity. Shira Nayman's storytelling is mesmerizing. The Listener is a riveting tale of madness, mystery, and passion that excavates the dark corners of the human heart and mind. It is a work of rare depth and power.

Review:

"A psychiatrist turns out to be his own most difficult case in this slackly plotted first novel from Nayman (after the collection Awake in the Dark). In 1947, Dr. Henry Harrison, the director of the New York City — area insane asylum Shadowbrook, begins treating Bertram Reiner, a German-born biochemistry Ph.D. who fought for the U.S. during WWII and claims to have committed himself to hide from his brother, a former Nazi. Shortly after receiving a letter claiming to be from Bertram's brother's wife, Henry sees a trespasser on the Shadowbrook grounds and begins to think Bertram might be telling the truth. Henry is also struggling with his own ghosts: he's haunted by the memory of a young female patient whose tragic death caused Henry to start using opium; his marriage is failing; and he's increasingly attracted to a nurse. Nayman plumbs the murky ethics of the analyst-patient relationship and tackles moral questions of collaboration and guilt, but her story struggles beneath a mountain of metaphysical weight. Meanwhile, philosophical allusions pile up as increasingly implausible plot twists and awkwardly timed flashbacks prevent this novel from becoming the psychological thriller it aspires to be." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Nayman's riveting and haunting first novel of madness and passion is set in apsychiatric hospital just after World War II.

About the Author

Shira Nayman grew up in Australia. She has a master's degree in comparative literature and a doctorate in clinical psychology, and has worked as a psychologist and a marketing consultant. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, New England Review, and Boulevard. The recipient of two grants from the Australia Council for the Arts Literature Board, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

dmard, February 3, 2013 (view all comments by dmard)
An adult "Through the Looking Glass" view of psychiatry. Who is and is not sane appears to be straightforward in the beginning, but as time goes on, you realize that nothing is as it seems. The story is both insightful and thought provoking.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780743292825
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Nayman, Shira
Publisher:
Scribner
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Psychiatric hospitals
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20091229
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 16.765 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

The Listener Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$17.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780743292825 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "A psychiatrist turns out to be his own most difficult case in this slackly plotted first novel from Nayman (after the collection Awake in the Dark). In 1947, Dr. Henry Harrison, the director of the New York City — area insane asylum Shadowbrook, begins treating Bertram Reiner, a German-born biochemistry Ph.D. who fought for the U.S. during WWII and claims to have committed himself to hide from his brother, a former Nazi. Shortly after receiving a letter claiming to be from Bertram's brother's wife, Henry sees a trespasser on the Shadowbrook grounds and begins to think Bertram might be telling the truth. Henry is also struggling with his own ghosts: he's haunted by the memory of a young female patient whose tragic death caused Henry to start using opium; his marriage is failing; and he's increasingly attracted to a nurse. Nayman plumbs the murky ethics of the analyst-patient relationship and tackles moral questions of collaboration and guilt, but her story struggles beneath a mountain of metaphysical weight. Meanwhile, philosophical allusions pile up as increasingly implausible plot twists and awkwardly timed flashbacks prevent this novel from becoming the psychological thriller it aspires to be." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Nayman's riveting and haunting first novel of madness and passion is set in apsychiatric hospital just after World War II.
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