Death of the Great Man: A Novel (Paperback)

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Death of the Great Man: A Novel By Peter D. Kramer Cover Image

Death of the Great Man: A Novel (Paperback)


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Staff Reviews

"What if a familiar former President were to have won re-election?
What if he sought the help of a Providence therapist to help with his insomnia?
What if that very famous patient were then to be discovered dead on the therapist’s couch?

Thus begins this novel, one that you will find very difficult to put down once it’s opened. Much like the former President, the story is at times funny, horrifying, controversial, and is very much the next novel you should read."--Reviewed by Stephen

In a novel that’s part comic mystery, part political satire, and part case vignette, a psychiatrist reviews his involvement with a narcissistic national leader who has turned up dead on the consulting room couch.

When Peter D. Kramer wrote about his work with psychiatric patients in books like Listening to Prozac and Should You Leave?, Joyce Carol Oates said, “To read his prose on virtually any subject is to be provoked, enthralled, illuminated.” When Kramer switched to fiction, Publishers Weekly wrote, “The depth, quality, and ambition of Kramer’s prose will surprise those expecting a superficial crossover effort.”

In his new novel, Death of the Great Man, Kramer uses those literary skills to introduce readers to an unforgettable character, Henry Farber, a well-meaning psychiatrist forced into hiding when the nation’s chief executive—a narcissistic autocrat in his disastrous second term—is found dead on the consulting room couch. From an isolated bungalow, Farber sets out to clear his name while offering an intimate view of a flawed populist leader. What begins as comic mystery and political satire matures into a moving journey of self-exploration and a commentary on the fate of truth-telling in an era when lying has become a norm in public life.
Peter D. Kramer is the author of eight books, including Ordinarily Well, Against Depression, Should You Leave?, the novel Spectacular Happiness, and the international bestseller Listening to Prozac. Dr. Kramer hosted the nationally syndicated public radio program The Infinite Mind and has appeared on the major broadcast news and talk shows, including Today, Good Morning America, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Charlie Rose, and Fresh Air. His essays, op-eds, and book reviews have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and elsewhere. For nearly forty years, Dr. Kramer taught and practiced psychiatry in Providence, Rhode Island. He now writes full time and is Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University.
Product Details ISBN: 9781637587966
ISBN-10: 1637587961
Publisher: Post Hill Press
Publication Date: April 4th, 2023
Pages: 416
Language: English
“Best known for his landmark 1993 Listening to Prozac, psychiatrist and psychotherapist Kramer opens his comedic mystery and political satire with “Great Man,” a vainglorious, lying, bullying national leader (think Donald Trump), found dead in his therapist’s office. Through his big-hearted, insightful narrator, therapist Henry Farber, Kramer holds up a lens to the shape-shifting distortions of lies. Death of the Great Man is a remarkably topical novel that is full of wit and insight.”
— National Book Review

Death of the Great Man is a diabolically clever and truly original novel about power, paranoia, and the uses (and abuses) of psychoanalysis. Filled with insight and witty asides, Peter Kramer’s dystopian not-quite-fable has caught the deflated but ever-hopeful spirit of this cultural moment with unerring skill and unfailing intelligence.”
— Daphne Merkin, author of This Close to Happy and 22 Minutes of Unconditional Love

Death of the Great Man is like nothing else written from our political era—in a good way. Peter Kramer’s lifetime experience as a psychiatrist and his lifelong skill as a writer and storyteller, combine in a riveting and thought-provoking book. It is fantasy, it is reality, and it is very much worth reading.”
— James Fallows, longtime commentator for NPR and former chief White House speechwriter

“Peter Kramer, whether in his nonfiction guise or in his fiction writing, is a thinker I return to with reverence and esteem often. He has an intuitive and poignant and funny take on the deeper questions that nag struggling humans, one that he comes to with such wisdom.”
— Rick Moody, author of The Ice Storm and The Long Accomplishment

“Peter Kramer has created an arch political satire that also offers a deep consideration of the modes and meaning of psychoanalysis. A sly novel of many pleasures, it is at once entertaining and enlightening.”
— Geraldine Brooks, author of Horse

“I’ve been a Peter Kramer fan for years. His professional training, coupled with his innate curiosity and compassion, results in a voice uniquely his. Add to that the creativity of a novelist and you have Death of the Great Man, a mesmerizing story and a moving account of a psychotherapist in crisis.”
— Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone

“So many delightful surprises in here! For starters, I didn't really know that Peter Kramer, one of America’s most celebrated Serious Thinkers, is also an absolutely crackerjack comic novelist. Nor did I expect this entertaining and timely story to take the thoughtful and thought-provoking twists and turns it does. Death of the Great Man is serious fun.”
— Kurt Andersen, author of Evil Geniuses: The Unmaking of America

“Dr. Kramer’s satiric tale is bold, sly, and frighteningly in tune with the moment—and the moments to come.”
— Elizabeth Benedict, author of Almost, Slow Dancing, and Rewriting Illness: A View of My Own

“Reaching with his storyteller’s wand into the swirl of the Now, Peter Kramer has created a fanciful, but in other ways deadly, political and psychological mystery. Deploying the tropes and truisms of psychotherapy, feasting on our collective fears and fantasies, Death of the Great Man is a narrative full of crackle and surprise. A mind-worm for our moment and beyond—its atmospheres will be hard to shake.”
— Sven Birkerts, author of The Art of Time in Memoir: Then, Again

“Political satire with remarkable depictions of the workings of a psychiatrist’s mind, meditation on the proper aims of psychotherapy, and speculation about the dystopian contour of our future should a ‘great man’ return to high office.”
— Sally Satel, author of Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience