Arab Today, arab today \by blood\ the eavesdropper nextdoor
Last Updated : GMT 03:19:53
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

\'By Blood\': the eavesdropper next-door

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today \'By Blood\': the eavesdropper next-door

London - Arabstoday

The very first thing you notice about Ellen Ullman\'s new novel, By Blood, is that its narrator is overwrought, practically hysterical and talks like Vincent Price at a retirement party. Among his first few utterances, the disgraced English professor claims that isolation, \"engendered in me a particularly obdurate spell of the nervous condition to which I had been subject since boyhood.\" It\'s as if Ullman plucked her hero out of 1874 and plunked him down a century later. We\'re in the San Francisco of 1974 — Patty Hearst, feminist collectives, The Castro — but the web of secrets and the neurasthenic, bumbling narrator-detective who untangles them, is all Edgar Allan Poe: \"The fifth deluged day found me still in bed, in dirty pajamas, watching rainwater seep slowly under my door. Out on the beach, no one appeared but a single haunted soul in a black, hooded jacket: a suicide, I thought, surveying the sea for riptides.\" On mandated leave from his university post — until his \"case\" (of inappropriate obsession) is reviewed by an ethics committee — the moody professor rents an office in a building crowned by eyeless gargoyles in a crummy section of town, planning to \"escape the great black drapery\" of his condition by working on a series of lectures about \"The Eumenides.\" He soon discovers, to his utter dismay, that his office shares a paper-thin wall with that of a psychotherapist. The professor can hear every intake of breath, every \"lifting of a haunch.\" Cast abruptly into the not altogether unfamiliar position of eavesdropper, the professor becomes quickly obsessed with a young female patient. At first his interest is prurient — the patient is a lesbian, a thrill right out of the gate for the male voyeur (\"Beautiful legs in stomping boots!\"). Then, it turns personal. The patient, it\'s quickly revealed, is adopted. Or, in her words, not adopted: \"I have mysterious origins!\" And her doctor wants her to work out her feelings about it. The professor, his suicidal gloominess most certainly genetic, can\'t resist the idea that as an adoptee, the patient has full license to extricate herself from \"the clammy hand of ancestry,\" that she is \"a model of self-creation,\" that, crouched darkly, ear to the wall, he can find deep intimacy with her, and perhaps therein find the path to his own psychic emancipation. There is a high-camp aspect to the professor and his gothic ways, but with his canny brand of empathy, he is the only one who can properly synthesize what turns out to be the incredibly complicated plot of the patient\'s origins, which are rooted in Nazi Germany and deeply layered with secrets, shame, collaboration, self-loathing and masquerade. The analyst is implicated, the birth mother obfuscates, the eavesdropper keeps butting in, and the patient, faceless on the other side of the wall, just wants to know who she looks like. The unwitting stalker in \"The Man of the Crowd\" — a Poe story that has to have had some small part in inspiring Ullman — observes: \"Now and then, alas, the conscience of man takes up a burden so heavy in horror that it can be thrown down only into the grave. And there the essence of all crime is undivulged.\" By Blood is about the undivulged — about psychology, legacy, obsessions and storytelling. Like analysis, it has urgency — as if, by talking and talking, a solution will be found. Like history, it extends in all directions. There is no real starting point, no end, perspectives are muddled, and consequences have no logic. Like the best novels, it\'s irresistible — twisty-turny, insightful, revelatory — funny when it\'s tragic, and complicated when it\'s funny.

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

Arab Today, arab today \by blood\ the eavesdropper nextdoor Arab Today, arab today \by blood\ the eavesdropper nextdoor

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Prepares to present her new collection

GMT 14:29 2017 Monday ,20 February

Prepares to present her new collection
Arab Today, arab today Tourism shows signs of recovery

GMT 09:59 2017 Monday ,20 February

Tourism shows signs of recovery
Arab Today, arab today Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"

GMT 19:45 2017 Monday ,20 February

Sarah Belamesh designs antiques of "ceramic"
Arab Today, arab today Optimism on the front line

GMT 07:24 2017 Monday ,20 February

Optimism on the front line
Arab Today, arab today Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 22:45 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Murder of 2 reporters in Dominican Republic

GMT 15:04 2017 Wednesday ,04 January

Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ becomes German bestseller

GMT 23:50 2016 Thursday ,08 December

UAE is helping the Arab world read more books

GMT 11:07 2016 Monday ,07 November

Sheikh Zayed Book Award announces first longlist

GMT 10:03 2016 Thursday ,13 October

A new illustrated book compares Beirut and New York

GMT 08:55 2016 Sunday ,25 September

Chinese Book Fair kicks off in Kathmandu
View News in Arabic - Culture: مراجعة كتب
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Kidogo provides childcare for underserved

GMT 20:24 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Kidogo provides childcare for underserved
Arab Today, arab today Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed

GMT 06:50 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Tragic fluctuations of Bakhtiari's life revealed
Arab Today, arab today London to tax old cars

GMT 14:06 2017 Friday ,17 February

London to tax old cars
Arab Today, arab today Pluto's unruly moons

GMT 06:31 2015 Thursday ,04 June

Pluto's unruly moons
Arab Today, arab today Nissan enhances sales in most markets

GMT 14:08 2017 Monday ,20 February

Nissan enhances sales in most markets
Arab Today, arab today Competes Sweden and Germans by S90

GMT 22:36 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Competes Sweden and Germans by S90
Arab Today, arab today Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival

GMT 21:11 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Egypt to hold first session of Arab film festival
Arab Today, arab today Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 20:41 2017 Wednesday ,15 February

Teach monkeys to recognize themselves in mirror

GMT 07:30 2017 Saturday ,18 February

Actress Nadeen Al Rassi views art as her entity

GMT 06:40 2017 Friday ,10 February

MP calls for removing text from Islamic story

GMT 19:10 2017 Friday ,17 February

Hats, scarves add beauty to women

GMT 10:26 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

Emergency UN meeting in Harare

GMT 23:29 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Home built on sand castles-style costs $8m

GMT 21:49 2017 Thursday ,16 February

Scientists develop new therapy

GMT 19:16 2017 Friday ,17 February

Aziz House ready to host the tourists

GMT 13:12 2015 Saturday ,09 May

Sheikh Sultan opens Sharjah Centre

GMT 12:39 2017 Monday ,20 February

newest smartphone another winner for Huawei

GMT 13:16 2017 Tuesday ,14 February

First fashion model with Down syndrome
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday