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Seduction: A Novel
Gildiner, Catherine
Vintage Canada / Softcover / 2005-11-01 / 0676976549
Fiction and Essays
price: $24.95 (may be subject to change)
496 pages
Not in Stock, usually ships in 3-6 business days

During her decade in prison, Kate Fitzgerald has learned a few things. The best way to survive is to absorb yourself in your own world. Never make eye contact with your fellow inmates. And the last person you can trust is your prison psychiatrist – not only is he likely to be lazy and incompetent (really, why else wouldn’t he be getting rich off of well-heeled clients instead?) but if you complain about him you’re going to be labelled as a “permanent malcontent” and denied parole. So when Dr. Gardonne offers Kate a temporary absence and a job working for him, she only takes it because she knows that turning him down could be worse for her in the long run – counted in prison years, of course. But the real challenge is figuring out why he would choose her.

On the surface, it’s pretty clear. Kate has spent her incarceration immersing herself in the writings of Sigmund Freud, and has become a recognized expert on his work. Dr. Gardonne represents the members of a psychoanalytic organization that is being attacked at its core: Anders Konzak, the hand-picked director of the Freud academy, has been boasting to the media that his new research on Freud will bring the entire profession of psychoanalysis to its knees. He’s also been receiving death threats. And Kate, as an outsider, is the only one Konzak will talk to. Though she doesn’t trust Gardonne, Kate accepts his offer, and she races to uncover Konzak’s secrets before he publishes his work.

Never one to work well with others, Kate is less than thrilled to find out Gardonne has hired a private detective to be her partner. Jackie Lawton is a hardened ex-con who has spent most of his life in prison and only recently turned things around by starting his own business. From the moment the two meet, Kate sees that it won’t be easy working with a man who isn’t really interested in the intellectual battle at hand and who keeps her prison time at the forefront of every conversation. And can he really be trusted? When key players – who were all last seen with Kate – begin to turn up dead, there’s the very real possibility she’s being set up by Gardonne. After all, who would believe the word of a convict serving time for murdering her husband? All she can hope is that following the threads of Konzak’s research to his sources will keep her one step ahead of Gardonne and lead her to the real killer.

With Seduction, Catherine Gildiner gives us not only a gripping detective story full of shifting characters and fast-paced twists but a remarkable intellectual thriller. Through the letters and papers of Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and the venerable Wedgwood family, Gildiner brings the personalities and ideological conflicts of the past to life in the present. Along the way we meet an assortment of characters, from social misfits to the demure but resolute Anna Freud, who is still living in the London house where she brought her ailing father for the last year of his life, and where she actively guards his legacy. The story takes us from Toronto to Vienna, London, the Isle of Wight, New York and back again to Toronto – each locale seen through the eyes of Kate, who relishes in the beauty of a world that has been denied to her for a decade.

Reviews and Endorsements:

“Very clever . . . definitely a cut above other thrillers.”
–NOW (Toronto)

"There are enough twists, turns and identity shifts to keep you guessing... Like a dream, it makes you question what's real and imagined."
—Time

"Seduction is smart and entertaining — brainy fun for a cold winter's night."
—The Globe and Mail

"Book-review clichés come to mind: "I couldn't put it down," "compulsively readable," etc. Seduction is a fast-paced modern novel filled with snappy dialogue, exotic settings and juicy intellectual plums, somewhat in the manner of The Da Vinci Code."
—Montreal Gazette

"A stylish suspenseful romp through psychoanalytical academia."
—The Bay Street Bull

“Seduction is certainly a romp, and the author’s pleasure in writing it comes across, a rare enough literary event. Her devotion to the subject matter is apparent.”
–National Post

“A fast-paced intellectual thriller . . . Dr Gildner’s insights about the desires that motivate us will keep you hooked.”
–Chatelaine

“Seduction introduces crime fiction to literary mystery. . . . An addictive thriller that combines a crash course on Freudian theory with an old-fashioned detective story . . . Seduction is written with the kind of wit and intelligence reminiscent of another page-turner, The Da Vinci Code.”
–The Hour (Montreal)

“A psychologically deep novel that combines two ex-cons, Anna Freud, and ambitious archivist and a zany catalogue of characters.”
–Elle (Canada)

“A snappy pageturner of a debut.”
–Ottawa Citizen

Praise for Too Close to the Falls:
“Memorably and skillfully told. . . Anyone who ever was, or has, a child considered different
in some way will enjoy this book.”
—The Globe and Mail

“Richly detailed and absorbing, Too Close to the Falls has only one real fault. It ends too soon.”
—Toronto Life

“A fascinating childhood is no guarantee of a fascinating memoir. It still takes a gifted writer to translate the past into a work of art, and Gildiner is a gifted writer.”
—Toronto Star

About the Author:

In 1999 Catherine Gildiner published her first book, a humorous memoir of her childhood called Too Close to the Falls. The story is told through the eyes of young Cathy McClure (Gildiner) who, at the age of four, is put to work assisting the delivery man who works for her father’s pharmacy, in order to curb what the local pediatrician considers her hyperactivity. Gildiner was prompted to write the book after a friend kept bugging her to write down all the crazy stories she had from her childhood — even though Gildiner thought her upbringing quite ordinary. After writing the first chapter she mailed it away to a publisher, not expecting much to come of her efforts, but it wasn’t long before she received an almost unbelievable reply: an advance cheque in the mail, with a Post-it Note saying "finish it." The memoir was published in Canada, the United States, England and Australia to wide acclaim, received award nominations and spent more than 70 weeks on Canadian bestseller lists. "I was surprised and amazed that people would be interested in what I call a happy, normal childhood,” Gildiner has commented, “but I’ve now come to see it’s not as normal as I thought."

By then Gildiner had already been working for a few years on the novel that would become Seduction. In fact, Sigmund Freud and Charles Darwin had been inhabiting her mind as characters for more than twenty-five years, ever since she worked on her Ph.D. thesis, which looked at Darwin’s influence on the father of psychoanalysis. As Gildiner explains in her note at the start of Seduction, her extensive study of the two men and their theories brought some "inconsistencies" to the surface — "not in the theories, but in the motivations behind them." From there, Gildiner began to build on and revise their personalities and histories until the two men existed for her as larger-than-life characters, destined — two decades later — for the page.

Gildiner was born in 1948 in Lewiston, New York, and came to Canada in 1970. After completing an M.A. and a Ph.D. in psychology, she established her private practice, and has worked as a clinical psychologist for more than twenty-five years. She also writes journalistic pieces for various newspapers and a monthly column for Chatelaine. Gildiner lives in Toronto, Ontario, with her husband and three sons, and is on a masters rowing team that rows competitively worldwide. She is currently working on a sequel to Too Close to the Falls that will cover her life between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five.

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