The Interpretation of History

Jonathan Rabb, Jed Rubenfeld

02/03/2008 11:15 am

In 1909, Freud visited America for the first and only time. In spite of a very successful reception, he seemed to have developed a severe antipathy for the USA. This is the starting point for Jed Rubenfeld’s highly acclaimed novel, The Interpretation of Murder, in which he imagines Freud involved in a case which is both a murder and psychoanalytic case. The result is a psychological thriller with a cast that includes Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung and several important American politicians.

In Rosa, Jonathan Rabb similarly starts from a factual truth: in the last days of the First World War, socialist revolution swept across Germany, transforming Berlin into a battleground. Order returned only when the two leaders of the movement—Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg—were assassinated on the fifteenth of January, 1919. Liebknecht’s body was discovered the next morning; Luxemburg’s body remained missing until the end of May. Rosa’s death is a real historical mystery, that has never been solved. In his remarkable new thriller, Jonathan Rabb presents one strikingly real solution, all the while painting a vivid picture of a dark city in chaos at a time of great political uncertainty.

Both writers discussed writing thrillers and reinterpreting history.

Jonathan Rabb

Jonathan Rabb is the author of Rosa, The Overseer and The Book of Q. He lives in New York with his wife and two children.

Jed Rubenfeld

Currently the Robert R. Slaughter Professor of Law at Yale University, Jed Rubenfeld is one of this country\'s foremost experts on constitutional law. As a Princeton undergraduate, he completed his thesis on Freud. At the Juilliard School, he studied Shakespeare. Rubenfeld lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and two children.

Marcel Berlins

Marcel Berlins is a lawyer turned journalist. He writes two weekly columns for the Guardian and reviews thrillers.