Love’s Executioner offers us the humane and extraordinary insight of renowned psychiatrist Irvin D. Yalom into the lives of ten of his patients – and through them into the minds of us all
Why was Saul tormented by three unopened letters from Stockholm? What made Thelma spend her whole life raking over a long-past love affair? How did Carlos’s macho fantasies help him deal with terminal cancer?
In this engrossing book, Irvin Yalom gives detailed and deeply affecting accounts of his work with these and seven other patients. Deep down, all of them were suffering from the basic human anxieties – isolation, fear of death or freedom, a sense of the meaninglessness of life – that none of us can escape completely. And yet, as the case histories make touchingly clear, it is only by facing such anxieties head on that we can hope to come to terms with them and develop. Throughout, Dr Jalom remains refreshingly frank about his own errors and prejudices; his book provides a rare glimpse into the consulting room of a master therapist.
‘Dr Yalom demonstrates once again that in the right hands, the stuff of therapy has the interest of the richest and most inventive fiction’ Eva Hoffman, New York Times
‘These remarkably moving and instructive tales of the psychiatric encounter bring the reader into novel territories of the mind – and the landscape is truly unforgettable’ Maggie Scarf
‘Love’s Executioner is one of those rare books that suggests both the mystery and the poetry of the psychotherapeutic process. The best therapists are at least partly poets. With this riveting and beautifully written book, Irvin Yalom has joined their ranks’ Erica Jong
‘Inspired … He writes with the narrative wit of O. Henry and the earthy humor of Isaac Bashevis Singer’ San Francisco Chronicle
‘Dr Yalom offers a valuable insight into the delicate process of therapy’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Irvin Yalom writes like an angel about the devils that besiege us’ Rollo May
‘These stories are wonderful. They make us realize that within every human being lie the pain and the beauty that make life worthwhile’ Bernie S. Siegel
‘Dr Yalom is unusually honest, both with his patients and about himself’ Anthony Storr
‘Yalom is a gifted storyteller, and from the sound of these tales, a no-less-gifted psychotherapist’ Los Angeles Times
‘This is an impressive transformation of clinical experience into literature. Dr Yalom’s case histories are more gripping than 98 percent of the fiction published today, and he has gone to amazing lengths of honesty to depict himself as a realistic flesh-and-blood character: funny, flawed, perverse, and, above all, understanding’ Phillip Lopate
‘I loved Love’s Executioner. Dr Yalom has learned something that fiction writers learned years ago – that people’s mistakes are a lot more interesting than their triumphs’ Joanne Greenberg
About the author:
Irvin D. Yalom is Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. As well as an award-winning psychiatrist and psychotherapist, he is an extremely prolific author. His many other works include The Gift of Therapy, Staring at the Sun, When Nietzsche Wept, The Theory and Practice of Group Psychiatry, The Schopenhauer Cure, Lying on the Couch, Momma and the Meaning of Life, Existential Psychotherapy, I’m Calling the Police, Inpatient Group Psychotherapy, Every Day Gets a Little Closer and The Spinoza Problem.