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LitAnalysis: Reading Fiction with Freud

Discuss contemporary fiction with insight from professional psychoanalysts from the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center. All are welcome. Discussions are free and open to the public. No registration is necessary.

This group meets the 1st Saturday of the month at 2:00 PM in the Director's Conference Room at the Main Library in Oakland.

Upcoming Discussions:

March 12, 2016
Akil Sharma
Family Life
The Mishras move from India to New York City in the 1980s in order to give their two sons better educational opportunities. When tragedy strikes, the family tries to recover the optimism and hope that propelled them to America. Beautiful, clear-eyed and compelling, this book packs a powerful punch.

April 9, 2016
Anne Tyler
A Spool of Blue Thread
In this book, we come to know three generations of Whitshanks--a family with secrets and memories that are sometimes different than what others observe. The book's timeline moves back and forth with overlapping stories, just like thread on a spool. Most readers will find themselves in the story. Once again, Tyler has written an enchanting tale.

May 14, 2016
Marion James
The Brief History of Seven Killings
From the acclaimed writer of The Book of Night Women comes a masterful novel framed as a fictional oral history that explores the events and characters surrounding the attempted assassination of Bob Marley during the political turmoil on Jamaica in the late 1970s.

June 11, 2016
Paula Hawkins
The Girl on the Train
Rachel is a washed-up thirty-something who creates a fantasy about the seemingly perfect couple she sees during her daily train ride into London. When the woman goes missing, Rachel manages to insert herself into the investigation of the woman's disappearance. In the vein of Gone Girl, this dark psychological thriller is fast-paced and features some very unreliable narrators.


Previous Discussions 2015:

March 7, 2015
Meg Wolitzer
The Interestings
Forging a powerful bond in the mid-1970s that lasts throughout subsequent decades, six individuals pursue respective challenges into their midlife years, including an aspiring actress who harbors jealousy toward friends who achieve successful creative careers.

April 4, 2015
Jonathan Miles
Want Not
As the novel opens on Thanksgiving Day, readers are telescoped into the worlds of a freegan couple living off the grid in Manhattan, a once prominent linguist struggling with midlife, and a New Jersey debt-collection magnate with a second chance at getting things right. Want and desire propel each one forward on their paths toward something, anything more, but when their worlds collide, briefly, randomly, yet irrevocably, the weight of that wanting ultimately undoes each of them, leaving them to pick up the pieces from what's left behind.

May 2, 2015
Daniel Alarcon
At Night We Walk in Circles
Feeling unfulfilled in the wake of personal and professional setbacks, South American youth Nelson lands a starring role in a revival of a legendary play by his hero and confronts the realities of civil war while touring unfamiliar landscapes.

June 6, 2015
Celeste Ng
Everything I Never Told You
A profoundly moving story of family, history, and the meaning of home, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, exploring the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family, and uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another.


Previous Discussions 2014:

March 1, 2014
Richard Russo
Empire Falls
Miles Roby tries to hold his family together while working at the Empire Grill in the once-successful logging town of Empire Falls, Maine, with his partner, Mrs. Whiting, who is the heir to a faded logging and textile legacy.

April 5, 2014
Claire Messud
The Woman Upstairs
Relegated to the status of schoolteacher and friendly neighbor after abandoning her dreams of becoming an artist, Nora advocates on behalf of a charismatic Lebanese student and is drawn into the child's family until his artist mother's careless ambition leads to a shattering betrayal.

May 3, 2014
Karen Joy Fowler
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Coming of age in middle America, 18-year-old Rosemary evaluates how her entire youth was defined by the presence and forced removal of an endearing chimpanzee who was secretly regarded as a family member and who Rosemary loved as a sister.

June 7, 2014
Herman Koch
The Dinner
Meeting at an Amsterdam restaurant for dinner, two couples move from small talk to the wrenching shared challenge of their teenage sons' act of violence that has triggered a police investigation and revealed the extent to which each family will go to protect those they love.


Previous Discussions 2013:

March 23, 2013
Julian Barnes
The Sense of an Ending
Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life. Now Tony is in middle age. He's had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He's certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises.

April 27, 2013
Eleanor Henderson
Ten Thousand Saints
When his best friend Teddy dies of an overdose on the last day of 1987, Jude Keffy-Horn finds his relationship with drugs and his parents devolving into the extreme when he gets caught up in an underground youth culture known as straight edge.

May 25, 2013
Michael Ondaatje
The Cat's Table
In the early 1950s, an eleven-year-old boy in Colombo boards a ship bound for England. Looking back from adulthood, the narrator relates a tale about the magical, often forbidden, discoveries of childhood and a lifelong journey that begins unexpectedly with a sea voyage.

June 22, 2013
Erin Morgenstern
Night Circus
A fierce competition is underway, a contest between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in "a game," in which each must use their powers of illusion to best the other. Unbeknownst to them, this game is a duel to the death, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.


Previous Discussions 2012:

March 24, 2012
Jonathan Safran Foer
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Oskar Schell, the nine-year-old son of a man killed in the World Trade Center attacks, searches the five boroughs of New York City for a lock that fits a black key his father left behind.
Dicussion will be led by Dr. Fischetti.

April 28, 2012
Chris Cleave
Little Bee
Presents a tale of a precarious friendship between an illegal Nigerian refugee and a recent widow from suburban London, a story told from the alternating and disparate perspectives of both women.
Dicussion will be led by Matt Markon, JD, LCSW.

May 26, 2012
Emma Donoghue
A 5-year-old narrates a story about his life growing up in a single room where his mother aims to protect him from the man who has held her prisoner for seven years since she was a teenager.
Dicussion will be led by Dr. Irwin.

June 23, 2012
Tea Obreht
The Tiger's Wife
Struggling to understand why her beloved grandfather left his family to die alone in a field hospital far from home, a young doctor in a war-torn Balkan country takes over her grandfather's search for a mythical ageless vagabond while referring to a worn copy of Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book.
Dicussion will be led by Dr. Fischetti.


Book Group Discussion Leader:
Mario Fischetti, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst in private practice specializing in psychoanalytic psychotherapies and psychoanalysis for alcohol and drug involved persons and their families. As a faculty member of the Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center, he has taught a course called, "Freudian Theory and the History of Psychoanalysis," to psychoanalysts-in-training. He is also a Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School.

The Pittsburgh Psychoanalytic Center is an accredited nonprofit educational organization that provides quality training and continuing education in psychoanalysis and psychodynamic psychotherapy. The PPC serves as a resource to the community through education, consultation, and outreach programs.