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A Skeptical Heroine, Unconvinced by Religion, Romance or Psychoanalysis

  • Published: January 14, 2021

Because there are many things to say about Susan Taubes’s remarkable 1969 novel “Divorcing,” and many of those things concern the grim side of both real life and life in the book, I’d like to start by saying that it’s funny. It’s not a comic novel, by any stretch, but neglecting to mention its humor would shortchange it and deform one’s initial idea of it.

Much of this humor comes at the expense of psychoanalysis. It’s possible there is more talk of analysis in “Divorcing” than in the entire filmography of Woody Allen. “Before you do anything,” one doctor in it says, “you need at least seven years of analysis. Minimum five; absolute minimum.”

While conversing with his sister-in-law, another man thinks: “How could he explain to Olga, who hadn’t read Freud, that his wife wasn’t really unfaithful,” that “it was her neurosis, she couldn’t help it.” Students at a medical school joke that Freud’s theory is a “technique grown-up men use to talk to juvenile girls about dirty things.”…Read More

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