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“But creative writers are valuable allies and their evidence is to be prized highly for they are apt to know a whole host of things between heaven and earth of which our philosophy has not yet let us dream.” Freud (1907)
Jessica Gross is a valuable ally. An intuitive reader of Freud her debut novel--Hysteria (Unnamed Press, 2020)--embraces Oedipal conflict, unconscious fantasy, and voracious sexuality. The narrator, a young woman living in current day Brooklyn, discovers Freud tending bar at a neighborhood haunt “perfect for making trouble” which she does and which Freud sees. He also sees her for a session on the couch. An analysand herself, Gross renders the treatment with such emotional precision that “delusion and dream” slip away and we eavesdrop on a highly relatable woman confronting overlapping desires. Throughout the novel, Gross’ generosity with her narrator is a sensitive illustration of “say everything” the fundamental request of analysis. It is a gift for anyone who has never had the experience nor been given the space to do so. It celebrates what it means to meet oneself as sexual being.
Jessica Gross is a writer whose nonfiction has appeared in The Los Angeles Review of Books, The New York Times Magazine, Longreads, and The Paris Review Daily. She's received fellowships in fiction from the Yiddish Book Center and the 14th Street Y, and teaches fiction and nonfiction writing at Eugene Lang College at The New School. jessicargross.com
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