Envy, by Kathryn Harrison

William Moreland is a psychoanalyst who lost his 12 year-old son in a boating accident three years ago. Since then his wife has been reluctant to be intimate with him, and he's started having sexual fantasies about his women patients. A high-school reunion is the trigger for him to start investigating his past, in order to understand what's happening to him now and why it is that his twin brother Mitch broke contact with the family when William got married.

This was well reviewed in The Guardian, and the library got a copy within two weeks. It was fairly compulsive reading, and the first couple of chapters were very gripping. However, it didn't sustain the pace for the whole book, so while it was good, it wasn't as good as it could have been.

I think I spotted, or suspected, the twist some time before it happened, but, like the Guardian reviewer, I think that a second reading of this book would be a bit of a let-down.

There was quite a lot of psychoanalysis in the book, and I was hoping that in the end it would turn out to be irrelevant: I think it would have worked quite well if the predictions and explanations given on the basis of Freudian theory had turned out to have been plausible but completely wrong. But then it would have been a different book.

Completed : 12-Feb-2006

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