cover image Secret Dreams

Secret Dreams

Keith Korman, Author Arcade Publishing $23.95 (400p) ISBN 978-1-55970-288-1

Atavistic dream visions and the mysteries of abnormal psychology come vividly to life in this captivating fictionalized account of Carl Jung's early work at a Swiss mental hospital, the Burgholzi Institute. In his groundbreaking treatment of young Fraulein Schanderein, who arrives at the institute unbathed, in dirty rags, screaming when anyone comes near her, Jung plays detective with the various symbols in the young woman's life, eventually consulting Vienna's controversial professor Sigmund Freud and ultimately restoring the fraulein's sanity and independence. As the novel opens, Schanderein is long since cured and is composing a letter to Jung from her office at the children's mental clinic in Russia that she now directs. The narrative ranges back through the memories and dreams of Jung, Freud and the former patient, focusing on her stay at the Burgholzi. During her treatment, she and Jung develop an intense and ultimately inappropriate intimacy, partly through a series of shocking indignities--she defecates in front of him and paints his face with menstrual blood. Korman (Swan Dive, Archangel) wittily dramatizes the growing complexity and confusion in Jung's relationships with his patient, his wife and his mentor, Freud. While this account won't win over critics of psychoanalysis--and may be a little too pat even for its advocates--its depiction of the field's pioneers and its evocation of the mind's mysteries are engaging and memorable. (June)