Freud's Blind Spot: 23 Original Essays on Cherished, Estranged, Lost, Hurtful, Hopeful, Complicated Siblings

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Relationships with our siblings stretch, as an old saying has it, all the way from the cradle to the grave. Few bonds in life are as significant, as formative, as lasting, and as frequently overlooked as those we share with our brothers and sisters.

In this stellar, first-of-its-kind anthology, contemporary writers explore the rich and varied landscape of sibling experience, illuminating the essential, occasionally wonderful, often difficult ways our brothers and sisters—or lack...

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Freud's Blind Spot: 23 Original Essays on Cherished, Estranged, Lost, Hurtful, Hopeful, Complicated Siblings

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Overview

Relationships with our siblings stretch, as an old saying has it, all the way from the cradle to the grave. Few bonds in life are as significant, as formative, as lasting, and as frequently overlooked as those we share with our brothers and sisters.

In this stellar, first-of-its-kind anthology, contemporary writers explore the rich and varied landscape of sibling experience, illuminating the essential, occasionally wonderful, often difficult ways our brothers and sisters—or lack thereof—shape us. There are those who love and cherish their siblings, those who abhor and avoid them, and everyone in between.

Contributors include the following:

Steve Almond, Daphne Beal, Nat Bennett, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, James Cañón, T Cooper, Lauren Grodstein, Nellie Hermann, Joanna Hershon, Nalini Jones, Etgar Keret, Victor LaValle, Vestal McIntyre, Jay Baron Nicorvo, Mary Norris, Eric Orner, Peter Orner, Angela Pneuman, Margo Rabb, Edward Schwarzschild, Robert Anthony Siegel, Faith Soloway, Jill Soloway, and Rebecca Wolff

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The opportunity to explore relationships between siblings is rich with possibilities and fraught with dramatic moments, as 24 writers with blood siblings, half siblings, step siblings, and in one case, an imaginary sibling, write about their brothers and sisters with honesty, bravery, and no small amount of humor. Beginning the lineup is Steve Almond's (Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life) "The Brothers Grim," in which he entertains the reader as he tells one self-deprecating tale after another of his adolescent suffering at the hands of his brothers. In "Islanders," Eric Orner uses a graphic novel format to recount a teenage summer spent on Martha's Vineyard with his brother under the dark cloud of their parents' stormy relationship. The essays focus on the sibling bond of losing or caring for a parent; the loss of a sibling to sudden death or religious conversion; the arrival of new siblings through extramarital affairs or gender-reassignment surgery; and the unrequited longing for a sister, among other significant issues. At times, the selection and arrangement of the essays feels inconsistent, though there are plenty of standout essays such as Etgar Keret's "Ultra Orthodox Sister" and Daphne Beal's "The Age of Innocence." (Nov.)
From the Publisher
"An introspective, provocative collection of firsthand accounts of siblinghood’s joys and pains." —Kirkus Reviews
Kirkus Reviews

An introspective, provocative collection of firsthand accounts of siblinghood's joys and pains.

Editor Albert (The Book of Dahlia, 2008, etc.) admits that her endeavor was cathartic, forcing her to process years of stressful domestic melodrama. She considers herself an only child, though she grew up with two brothers ("the sun and moon of my earliest memories")—one died young and the other offered constant disappointment, resulting in a painful estrangement. Credited as the "unsung heroes of our psychological development," the brothers and sisters gathered here range from the good to the bad, the infuriating to the beloved, leaving the meandering and the misunderstood to tug at readers' heartstrings. Outspoken author Steve Almond (Rock and Roll Will Save Your Life, 2010, etc.) leads off with childhood memories of being cruelly terrorized by his brothers, which bled into his adult life, where all three now (barely) communicate "in a stunted, regressive manner." Animation artist Eric Orner offers a skillfully drawn, bittersweet portrait of a '70s summer vacation on Martha's Vineyard spent consoling his younger brother Peter as their two bickering parents announced a divorce. Novelist Peter Orner (The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, 2007, etc.) counters his brother's perspective by earnestly correlating his memories to the Kennedy Chappaquiddick tragedy. While many essays adeptly form quick, potent family snapshots—e.g., Jay Nicorvo's nostalgic teenaged rooftop adventure—especially revelatory are the stories of siblings who've bonded with each other over life-changing decisions. New Yorker staffer Mary Norris's brother Dennis guided his sister incrementally through his transsexual transformation to become Dee. T Cooper corners his brother, a former rocker, by e-mail with 38 probing questions that end up enlightening them both on adoption, their parents, guns and his life as a policeman. Forty-something Jewish sisters Jill and Faith Soloway take the same Q&A approach, querying each other on their inner-city Chicago upbringing, Jill's life as an Emmy-winning TV producer and Faith's single-motherhood and lesbianism. Other contributors include Etgar Keret, Nalini Jones and Rebecca Wolff.

Therapeutic for the editor and a significant bounty for readers.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439154724
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 11/16/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 273
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Elisa Albert is the author of the short story collection How This Night is Different and the novel The Book of Dahlia. She has taught creative writing at Columbia University and is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in Holland.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Elisa Albert 1

The Brothers Grim Steve Almond 7

Elliot Lauren Grodstein 17

Any Day Now Joanna Hershon 23

Islanders Eric Orner 33

Dyke Bridge Peter Orner 43

Sean Robert Anthony Siegel 47

Jackie Margo Rabb 61

Gender Studies Mary Norris 69

The Gospel According to P- Victor LaValle 85

Who Will Save Us Now" Nalini Jones 97

Thirty-eight Questions I've Always Wanted to Ask My Brother Steve but Never Have Until Now T Cooper 109

True Brothers James Cañón 129

Ben Hermann Forever Nellie Hermann 139

Bodies of Water Miranda Beverly-Whitternore 147

Brotherly Love Edward Schwarzschild 157

Burning Questions Jill Soloway Faith Soloway 167

The Age of Innocence Daphne Beal 187

The Roof Beneath Our Feet Jay Baron Nicorvo 203

Ultra-Orthodox Sister Etgar Keret 219

Tickle or Torture Vestal Mclntyre 225

Sister Angela Pneuman 237

Halfway or In-between or Something Else Nat Bennett 243

N: I Knew Him When Rebecca Wolff 255

Contributors 263

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 2.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    Hope

    every day i spend at sl brings the knife closer to my heart.....today....it finally reached it.....

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  • Posted November 27, 2010

    WHY NOT

    A very interesting (I dare say "unique") collection of essays by well-known authors reflecting on siblings relationships. Some of the essays work beautifully, i.e. Mary Norris's "Gender Studies," about her brother Dennis transsexual transformation into Dee (a must read), and James Canon's "True Brothers," a somewhat lyrical, somewhat funny, but altogether wonderful account of how (the how is what matters here) his family doubled its size after his father became a Christian. Some other essays are experimental, like Eric Orner's "Islanders," and T Cooper's "Thirty-eight Questions..." The last one, in my opinion, plods, slowing down the pace of the book, and it doesn't work as well as others. Still a collection worth reading, if anything because of the topic and the variety of the voices and styles.

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