By Dan Gunn.
ISBN 1 58391 279 7
This hilarious account recalls the author’s angst-ridden attempt
to bring six years of classic psychoanalysis to an end.
The setting is Paris in 1995 when strikes have brought the city
to a standstill and he is forced to cycle several miles three times
a week to see his analyst, a famous psychanalytical follower of
Through diary accounts and descriptions of sessions we learn
that Gunn’s father died when he was a child, a loss that
complicates his relationship with women. We also become familiar
with the subtle process of analysis based on the interpretation of
As befits a professor of comparative literature, Gunn delights
in the intellectual challenge of talking to himself, which he
transcribes in scintillating punning prose. He becomes adept at
interpreting the “umms” and “ahs” of his almost silent therapist
and tries to outwit him into speaking.
He becomes increasingly preoccupied with sheep, and sees his
analysis as “wool gathering” of the fragments of the self. He deems
therapy a success but at the price of £24,246 which, for a
canny Scot, is tantamount to “being fleeced”.
Hopefully, this gem of a book will recoup some of the cost.
Julia Tugendhat is a writer and