The Analyst Who Laughed to Death

Paper: 978 1 78220 496 1 / $21.95
 
Published: December 2016  

Publisher: Karnac Books
320 pp., 6" x 9"
Series: Karnac Library Series
The Analyst Who Laughed to Death recounts Dr. Reuben Moses’ last days as a therapist for suicidal, psychopathic, and depressed patients. Despite his geniality, Moses is tortured. His wife has an affair, exiling Moses to a tiny flat with his neurotic retriever, Jaffe-Jaffe.

His life is spent listening to intractable patients—to relieve tension Moses jogs city-streets at odd hours. He debates a radical theory, 'The Bubba Complex', where one’s childhood is shaped by the dominant Jewish Bubba.

Moses enters a final analysis with Oskar Pinsky, who battles Moses’ psyche unhinged by his help-rejecting mega-millionaire patient, Paula Blum (who is a Bubba doppelganger). Pinsky sleuths through Moses’ troubled post-Holocaust past, sexual misadventures, and impossible cases. Despite Pinsky’s efforts, Moses jokes away his suffering, dismissing feminists who are infuriated with his theory.

Following attacks on his car, office, and vicious personal assaults, the police order Moses to leave town. He laughs away warnings and travels to Montreal to present his Bubba Complex to jeering audiences. As Pinsky’s analysis proceeds, the reader sees Moses wrestling with past demons and an unseen enemy threatening to destroy him.

Written as a tragic-comic case-history, this novel, like Freud’s Wolf-Man, addresses the complexity of trauma, memory, and childhood love of a powerful woman. Set in present-day Toronto, Dr. Moses represents a vanishing breed, a medical psychoanalyst exploring the meaning of patients’ suffering set against the current landscape of brief psychotherapy and overuse of drugs.

Table of Contents:
1) The analysis of M
Part One: The Infantile Neurosis, June 2007–March2007
2) Escape from childhood: June 2007
3) The nightmare
4) Paula Rose Blum
5) How it all started
6) First clinical impressions: June 2007
7) Blum in distress
8) Mendel—the boy who went totally blind
9) Analytic neutrality: An overview––O. Pinsky, July 2007
10) Blum’s conflict: July 2007
11) The Blitzkrieg
12) Fidel: August 2, 2007
13) Toilet phobia
14) The Bubba complex
15) Crystal—the dog walker: August 23, 2007
16) M’s childhood diary (written retrospectively in late childhood)
17) Sitting still: September 2007
18) Vandalism: September 2007
19) M’s notes and sketches—O. Pinsky, October 2007
20) A neurological disorder? Age five
21) Birth-anxiety: age five to six
22) Blum’s fury: December 4, 2007
23) Existence or unconsciousness—O. Pinsky, December 10, 2007
24) Fear of fire: pyrophobia, age six
25) Father’s Remington: age seven
26) More threats: February 6, 2008
27) The beginning of the end of the first analytic phase: O. Pinsky, February 19, 2008
28) A restless kid: age eight
29) Blum opens up: March 5, 2008
30) Polio: age eight

Part Two: Latency, March 2008–July 2008
1) The second phase of analysis: O. Pinsky, March 2008
2) More catastrophes
3) Pain: April 3, 2008
4) The rules of interpretation—O. Pinsky, May 9, 2008
5) Bayer’s error: June 2008
6) Further comments on latency—O. Pinsky, June 2008
7) Escaping Bubba
8) The end of latency—O. Pinsky, July 11, 2008

Part Three: A Borderline Adolescence, July 2008–December 2008
1) Camp Hello-Goodbye
2) Blum confesses: August 2008
3) Father’s lament
4) Insomnia
5) Father’s addictions
6) Medical files: September 17, 2008
7) The German maid
8) Cheder atrocities
9) Relativity: October 2008
10) My bar mitzvah suit
11) Adolescent fixations: O. Pinsky, November 24, 2008
12) Blum’s condition: December 2, 2008
13) My first job
14) Love’s torture
15) Back pain: December 24, 2008

Part Four: The Last Phase Disrupted Analysis, January 2009–July 2009
1) The last phase: O. Pinsky, January 2009
2) Blum’s withering: January 10, 2009
3) Meyer’s wedding
4) The gathering storm: March 2009
5) The hostile reality factor—O. Pinsky, March 2009
6) The Bubba Complex goes viral: July 3, 2009
7) The last sessions: O. Pinsky, Friday July 3, 2009
8) Final words

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Reviews & Endorsements:
"A pitch-perfect, deliciously wicked,and funny novel. This book is a delight, and the humor will break your heart."
- Bonnie Zindel, psychoanalyst and Creative Literary Editor of Psychoanalytic Perspectives
"Ronald Ruskin seamlessly marries humor to tragedy."
- Joseph Kertes, Dean Emeritus of the Creative Writing and Comedy Programs at Humber College, Toronto, and winner of the Canadian Jewish Book Award