Noam Shpancer - The Good Psychologist (3 stars)

A 'beach read' for those fascinated by the inner workings of the human psyche

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Noam Shpancer - The Good Psychologist

(Abacus)

Although it’s unlikely that anyone picking up a book called The Good Psychologist would be devoid of an interest in therapy, it’s still worth pointing out that if you are, Noam Shpancer’s novel has little to offer you. For those fascinated by the inner workings of the human psyche, this book is about as close to a beach read as analysis gets.

We never learn his name, but the eponymous psychologist works by day in an anxiety clinic, by night at a college, and worries inbetween about the married woman he loves but cannot be with. If you can’t figure out that Shpancer’s reference to ‘the cranky Viennese’ means Sigmund Freud, it’s unlikely the plot will carry you sufficiently through pages of therapeutic discussion. Meanwhile, those in the know will either champion our hero’s cognitive behavioural approach or tut from the safety of their own theoretical stance.

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