Monday, October 14, 2013

Freud's Mistress

I know almost nothing about Freud, only occasionally making the odd reference to a "Freudian slip."  However, I was completely entertained by Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack and Jennifer Kaufman.

Minna Bernays moves in with her sister, Martha, and Martha's family - husband, Sigmund Freud and their six children after losing her job as a maid. Told in Minna's perspective, she explains how she knew Freud when they were younger, and she along with Martha and Minna's fiancee would go out for evenings as couples.  After her fiancee's death and her family's loss of fortune, Minna's life becomes something she never expected.  Now, living with the Freud's she enjoys her time discussing Freud's work with him, and relishes the attention he lavishes on her.  And she falls in love. Although she feels guilty about her feelings and how she betrays her sister, she is unable to stop her relationship with Sigmund.  

Minna Bernays is a name that has lingered in history as the woman that Freud had an affair with, yet until 2006, there was no adequate evidence to support that. With the death of Freud's daughter, many letters that had once been kept private, were revealed, along with her father's affair with her aunt.

Although I know this is a work of fiction, I was easily able to imagine Martha and Minna's relationship and even understand why each made the decisions they did. I'm not rushing out to learn more about Sigmund Freud, but I would happily read more about both Bernays sisters.

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