Escritorio Abierto

Un espacio de consulta de trabajos y artículos del Lic. Gabriel Abarca y algunas novedades bibliográficas del psicoanálisis europeo, especialmente de André Green, Christopher Bollas y Joyce McDougall

Lugar: CABA, Buenos Aires, Argentina

martes, 21 de noviembre de 2006


"Mayhem" is Christopher Bollas's third novella, following the highly acclaimed "Dark at the End of the Tunnel" and "I Have Heard the Mermaids Singing". Readers return to the urban village where the psychoanalyst and a diverse mix of other characters encounter life. Mrs Stottlemeyer hates psychoanalysis, yet pays a surprise visit to the analyst's office, demanding that he resolve a dilemma posed by her long deceased husband. Led by his unconscious, the psychoanalyst finds himself in an excruciatingly embarrassing sexual encounter with a young woman. Forming a backdrop to these events, the country is riveted by an exhibition called A Life, in which an eminent curator has assembled a showcase of her son's life. Art critics feel gagged and agree not to discuss the show until it closes, forcing people into confusion about the son's life and the meaning of the exhibit. The psychoanalyst, meanwhile, is incensed by the rise of a new therapy, 'funeralism', which specialises in deciding when relationships are dead and arranges 'funerals' to formally end such relations.
An offshoot - 'clone-analysis' - claims to have discovered a psychic DNA; clone-analysts market what they call 'necromantic empathy', enabling their practitioners to discover the secrets of the dead. There is national and local mayhem after A Life closes. Denied a catalogue, the right to take notes and even the ability to pay a second visit to the exhibition, people have disturbingly different memories of what they witnessed. Matters are made much worse when the show's organisers disappear. As in his previous novellas, crowds function like Greek choruses, condensing into brief moments intense emotions and powerful ideas. Members of the public argue passionately in the streets about A Life, while one radical group, Forget Art, demonstrates against the subversive effects of installation art. Set against these forces are the now familiar - and vulnerable - individuals in the psychoanalyst's world, such as his journalist friend Westin Moorgate and the comedian Fred Murk, who stand out, Giacometti-like, against the dark cloth of social and mental disorder. From the material of human un-ease, "Mayhem" weaves a design of the modern-absurd.
Addressing how and why we deceive ourselves, the novella is a tragicomic vision, both deeply thought-provoking and hilarious in the same moment. Although readers may experience "Mayhem's" anarchic movement and surprise ending as disturbing, they will also find a dissident voice that is liberating and curiously consoling.
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