Saturday, August 6, 2016

Book review #2

     This review is quite „delicate” for me to write because.. well, let's say that Nietzsche himself is a touchy subject. More about that another time. So Yalom's "When Nietzsche Wept" caught my attention from the beginning and I was not expecting that. To be honest, I did not foresee anything that happened in this book so ingeniously writing, thing that comes as no surprise since the author is a well-known psychiatrist with early ambition of being a writer. The perfect combination, I might say.

     Venice, XIXth century. Josef Brauer, Freud’s master, and Lou Salome, Nietzsche's hell. The two meet and Lou asks the doctor to heal her friend, convincing him with her seductive personality that Nietzsche will become the greatest philosopher of the XXth century. You cannot refuse such an offer.
     Brauer and Nietzsche finally meet, and the doctor discovers the philosopher’s unbreakable wall. Instead giving up healing him, Brauer convinces his patient, making use of an innocuous subterfuge, to get hospitalized, and the story goes on...

     At first glance, you might say it is a book about healing. It isn't. It is about the clash of two strong mentalities resulting in some shattering dialogues, it is about finding the truth and how much courage you need to chase it. It is about weaknesses, power, love, escape, obsessions. It is the kind of book your hands tremble on - either with anger or due to a revelation.

     The end - another part of the story that was unexpected. You shall see why.

     The fact that the book is purely fiction - Breuer and Nietzsche never met – is a proof of Yalom's genius. Here and there  some notions of anatomy and psychology; characters asserting their egos, a Vienna torn apart by anti-Semitism, philosophical discussions - ideas that will keep you awake at night and, well, Freud with whom I fell in love. All these gathered together: "When Nietzsche wept”, a marvelously written masterpiece.

     "Oh, the endless labor of the intellectual—pouring all this knowledge into the brain through a three-millimeter aperture in the iris."

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Maira Gall