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The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves

Hardback

By (author) Stephen Grosz

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  • Publisher: Random House Canada
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 146mm x 212mm x 24mm | 360g
  • Publication date: 28 May 2013
  • ISBN 10: 0307359107
  • ISBN 13: 9780307359100
  • Sales rank: 1,002,961

Product description

The everyday world bedevils us. To make sense of it, we tell ourselves stories. Here, in short, vivid, dramatic tales, psychoanalyst Stephen Grosz draws from his twenty-year practice to track the collaborative journey of therapist and patient as they uncover the hidden feelings behind ordinary behavior. A woman finds herself daydreaming as she returns home from a business trip; a young man loses his wallet. We learn, too, from more extreme examples: the patient who points an unloaded gun at a police officer, the compulsive liar who convinces his wife he's dying of cancer. These beautifully rendered tales illuminate the fundamental pathways of life from birth to death. They invite compassionate understanding, suggesting answers to the questions that compel and disturb us most about love and loss, parents and children, work and change. The resulting journey will spark new ideas about who we are and why we do what we do.

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Author information

STEPHEN GROSZ was born in Indiana and educated at Berkeley and Oxford. For the past twenty-five years he has worked as a psychoanalyst. He teaches clinical technique at the Institute of Psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic theory at University College London. His stories have appeared in the Financial Times and Granta. He lives in London.

Review quote

“[A] fine and moving book…. The tact, patience and understatement, which are particular components of Grosz’s wisdom, remind the reader that this writer’s insights and empathy result from thousands of hours with patients…. This book is not polemical literature…nor is it an academic work or a popular self-help book. It is a true literary work and a very modern one.” —Jewish Chronicle    “Engaging, frank, and with many penetrating insights. His short, succinct chapters have both the tension and the satisfaction of miniature detective or mystery stories…. A stimulating book.” —Michael The Spectator   “Intensely readable…. As a reminder of the strangeness of human existence, the myriad ways we find of making ourselves unhappy and the perplexing resourcefulness of the unconscious mind, Grosz’s book is a worthwhile addition to the literature of the examined life.” —New Statesman   “Grosz’s vignettes are so brilliantly put together that they read like pieces of bare, illuminating fiction…. It is this combination of tenacious detective work, remarkable compassion and sheer, unending curiosity for the oddities of the human heart that makes these stories utterly captivating.” —The Sunday Times “I couldn’t put this down—I read about other people, but learned about myself at the same time. Real stories can be so much more fascinating than fictional ones, especially with Stephen Grosz. No preaching, no clichés—just wisdom.” —Victoria Hislop   “Someone in pain enters an analyst’s consulting room, and is paid careful, intelligent attention. The Examined Life is a fascinating collection of quiet stories about very real human predicaments: the listening cure at its best.” —Patrick McGrath   “A beautifully judged, wonderfully readable book with an unusually clear and kind voice. There is a rare integrity in the writing: no showing off, just honest attention to each trusted relationship. I read the whole thing in one sitting, cover to cover.” —Ruth Padel