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Los Angeles Times: "From the moment Freud steps off the train, Edwin M. Yoder Jr. transports the reader. He has fun watching James (on the couch) trying to outsmart 'the Viennese sage' in his lascivious quest for James' 'secret alcove.'"

Date: Sep 10 2007

It's hard not to be fascinated by Henry James and Edith Wharton; their dazzling conversations, letters and lives. Add Sigmund Freud to their charmed circle at James' Lamb House in Rye, Sussex, in the late English summer of 1908, and you have a novel reminiscent of Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse. Characters circle, reflecting one another's brilliance and this point in history, before the World Wars.

Doctoral student Horace Briscoe is there, writing his dissertation on James' life and work. When Freud, at the suggestion of James' worried brother, William, offers to psychoanalyze Henry, Briscoe learns more about the great man than he dreamed possible. William is concerned that his brother's "autumnal floridity" and "fabulous impenetrability" mask a deeper problem, which, it turns out, they do. From the moment Freud steps off the train, Edwin M. Yoder Jr. transports the reader. He has fun watching James (on the couch) trying to outsmart "the Viennese sage" in his lascivious quest for James' "secret alcove."