The strange case of Mademoiselle P. : a novel / Brian O'Doherty.

Bibliographic Details
Main Author: O'Doherty, Brian.
Format: Book
Published: New York : Pantheon, c1992.
Edition:1st ed.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Five monologues constitute this slight first novel, which begins promisingly but grows fussy and pedantic as it traces the methods of 18th-century physician Franz Anton Mesmer, father of hypnosis. In three of the novel's sections, Mesmer ruminates on his theories of animal magnetism and the scorn of rivals who charge him with quackery. He discourses on his healing practices, conducted in shrouded rooms where he strokes the thighs of patients to coax out their ``universal fluid'' while hired musicians (here, young Mozart) soothingly play. Mesmer grows entranced, even sexually obsessed, with his 18-year-old patient Marie-Therese Paradies, a skilled pianist suffering from blindness and melancholia whose cure he claims to effect. The remaining monologues belong to Marie-Therese and her father. The patient muses on her affliction, her trust in her doctor and her friendship with Mozart; Josef Paradies expresses concern for his daughter and fumes at the ``fakery and nonsense'' of ``the pernicious Dr. M.'' Drawing on Mesmer's own treatise, the novel opens a window on a narrow vista of Viennese life but lacks the action and dramatic tension needed to excite the reader. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved