Synopses & Reviews
Novelist Clare Dudman, whose work has earned comparisons to Andrea Barrett and Barry Lopez, is that rare kind of author who can bring history dramatically to life. Here she conjures up the revolutionary nineteenth-century German physician Heinrich Hoffmann (best known today for his book of children's rhymes, Shockheaded Peter, or Struwwelpeter) as he struggles to cure an inhabitant of Frankfurt's Jewish ghetto who hasn't spoken, slept, or eaten in weeks. As the secrets hidden in the girl's mind are exposed, Dr. Hoffmann also begins to uncover his own buried truths and, in the end, discovers his real reasons for being.
Like Andrea Barrett, Dudman exposes the human, often irrational impulse behind scientific exploration without romanticizing it. (The Boston Globe)
When a traumatized Jewish girl is admitted to the town asylum for alleged nymphomania, Dr. Hoffmann of 1850s Frankfurt exhausts all traditional forms of treatment before resorting to a talking form of therapy, a technique that enables the doctor to connect with the patient and come to terms with his own past. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.