Marilyn's Last Sessions

Marilyn's Last Sessions

3.53 (356 ratings by Goodreads)
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4.25 am, 5 August 1962, West Los Angeles Police Department
'Marilyn Monroe has died of an overdose', a man's voice says dully. And when the stunned policeman asked 'What?', the same voice struggled to repeat 'Marilyn Monroe has died. She has committed suicide.'

If life were scripted like the movies, this extraordinary phone call would have been made by the most important man in Marilyn Monroe's life - Dr Ralph Greenson, her final psychoanalyst. During her last years Marilyn had come to rely on Greenson more and more. She met with him almost every day. He was her analyst, her friend and her confessor. He was the last person to see her alive, and the first to see her dead.

In this highly acclaimed novel, Marilyn's last years - and her last sessions on Dr Greenson's couch - are brilliantly recreated. This is the story of the world's most famous and elusive actress, and the world she inhabited, surrounded by such figures as Arthur Miller, Truman Capote and John Huston. It is a remarkable piece of storytelling that illuminates one of the greatest icons of the twentieth century.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 400 pages
  • 143 x 220 x 35mm | 552g
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Main
  • 1847670369
  • 9781847670366
  • 866,242

Review quote

Michel Schneider breathes life into the complex and fascinating relationship between Marilyn Monroe and Ralph Greenson, creating an intimate, inventive and heartbreaking novel in which psychoanalysis and the movies are brilliantly intertwined -- Hanif Kureishi Michel's Schneider's book is marvellous and insightful, a real vision of human delicacy, and one of the international novels of the year. -- Andrew O'Hagan, author of BE NEAR ME and THE MISSING Fiction can tell the truth, and Michel Schneider imagines and writes these last sessions with great insight. At the end of the book Marilyn is still iconic, but also, mysteriously, much closer -- Marie Darrieussecq Celluloid meets psychoanalysis in this riveting evocation of Marilyn Monroe's life and ultimate suicide. As an analyst himself, Michel Schneider's perceptions about the star's relations with her last psychoanalyst are astute, and he writes with great flair and insight. Tender, provocative, brimming with perception, this is a novel about both our fascination with celebrity and its inner life -- Lisa Appignanesi, author of All About Love and Mad, Bad and Sad An extraordinary marriage of scholarship and storytelling that reminds us that Marilyn Monroe was a living complication of a woman and not a series of blinding attributes. An absolute triumph -- Carol Topolski, author of Monster Love and Do No Harm A fascinating blend of fact and fiction. This is one of the major events of the literary season. * * Lire * * Psychoanalysis and the darkened screen have never seemed so close. Schneider's novel is made in the image of his heroes: larger than life, tortured and downright unique. * * Evene * * This is the edifying roman noir of Marilyn Monroe's latter years. the very beautiful Marilyn: Last Sessions is an unprecedented portrait of a shooting star. * * Les Inrockuptibles * * Read Michel Schneider's fascinating Marilyn: Last Sessions. Drawn from the very weird relationship between Marilyn and her bizarre psychoanalyst, Ralph Greenson, it is a terrifying story, a life-and-death race between money, cinema and the desire not to know. * * Le Journal du Dimanche * * Seamlessly blends fact and fiction... Schneider's skills as a storyteller and his attention to detail as a biographer combine to create an intimate and engaging portrayal of the complex legend that is Marilyn Monroe * * We Love This Book * * [Schneider] shows an insightful understanding of psychological interpretations of issues to do with image, narrative, self-delusion, death anxiety and transference in the patient/therapist relationship * * Sunday Telegraph * * An intelligent, sympathetic and sometimes moving book -- Allan Massie * * Scotsman * * Schneider knows his subject well. He writes Monroe so authentically that you often forget this is simply his imagined version of the last four years of her life. And it's a joy to meet a more emotionally astute character who, though seemingly hooked on the lure of therapy, is a world away from the pouting, preening starlet in the blue dress * * Psychologies * * Schneider does Marilyn the justice of granting her a certain degree of dignity and an intuitive understanding of her own demons -- Sarah Churchwell * * New Statesman * * A parallel Freudian commentary on the nature of icons: how they are created in the public eye, and how they become the blank canvas for our desires and fantasies * * Metro * * Artfully entwining fact and storytelling, Schneider captures the great schism that existed between the exuberant sex symbol projected on screen and the fragile, troubled woman that existed when the cameras weren't rolling...a totally riveting read * * France Magazine * *
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About Michel Schneider

Michel Schneider has written on psychoanalysis, Baudelaire, Proust, Schumann and Glenn Gould. His essay collection, Morts Imaginaires (Grasset, 2003), won the Medicis Essay Award. He lives in France.

Will Hobson's translations from French and German include the Goncourt Prize-winning The Battle by Patrick Rambaud (Picador), The Collector of Worlds by Iliya Troyanov (Faber) and Being Arab by Samir Kassir (Verso), which won the Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award 2007. He is the author of The Redstone Inkblot Test and A Household Box: Knock Knock! Who's There? We Are!.
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Rating details

356 ratings
3.53 out of 5 stars
5 19% (69)
4 33% (116)
3 33% (119)
2 11% (40)
1 3% (12)
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