October 24, 2008

Review: Therapy in historical context

It’s definitely an interesting question. Not even for us, here and now in the 21. century, when the ID card, the passport, or other important documents are part of the every day life, when we have photographs and videos about or all life, about most of the important moments, but for example for the people living in the 17. century.

The heroine of the novel A kigyo arnyeka [The shadow of the serpent] by Zsuzsa Rakovszky puts the question to herself, all the terrible occurrences about she writes in her memories (which is the content of the novel) have happened really, or it has been only a nightmare.

Ursula Lehmann is a daughter of a chemist in the rich North-Hungarian town Locse in the early 17. century. Locse is an important town in the history of Hungary and n the history of the Hungarian literature. The citizens of this town were mostly German settlers, like in many town in Hungary, and they lived a strictly organised life. The senate has brought under control the number of the guest of the wedding, christening, the kind of the clothes should wear the womans, etc. Maybe it’s just a legend, like the story of the one year mourning for the major of the town, when he was killed. But on the other hand it just remembers the strict controls of the morals in the story The Scarlet Letter by Hawthorne.

The pregnancy of the heroine, this unmarried young girl plays a main role in this story too. But a bit different way. It’s the beginning of a series of lies, common and individual sins, an utterly new way turning to of a young woman’s life.

There are big sins is this story. Incest, murder, etc, but it’s so easy to say everybody is just the victim of the circumstances.

Ursula, the heroine and narrator of the story describes her dreams and nightmares fairly often. It's like a therapy, writing about anxieties, sometimes I feel, this whole book, the memories of an extraordinary old woman, teling her life is just like a therapy in historical context.

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