Distantly Related to Freud
It's Montreal, 1953, and eight-year-old Ellen, an only child prone to daydreaming, and her mother, a woman who believes in the promise of fresh starts, have moved into a large house on the flanks of Mt. Royal. To make ends meet, Ellen's mother takes in a group of refugees from Central Europe, whose erratic behaviour and dark view of human nature captivate the young girl's imagination. Ellen sees the refugees as a potential source of valuable information about her own background, of which she has heard little, except for a few stories about a lost golden civilization and the family's distant connection to Sigmund Freud. The refugees soon leave to be replaced by Aunt Celia, a woman whose anxiety meter is permanently stuck at danger, and Ellen's new stepfather, Dr. Henryk Steiner, whose years in the Soviet Union have earned him the title of "Playboy of the Communist World".
While the adults wrangle with each other and the fallout from their past lives, Ellen sets her sights on exploring the brave new world of "America," and on becoming a teenage femme fatale. Her quest takes her to Crescent Bay, Long Island, and into the placid lives of her American cousins and their friends. Supporting her along the way is her best friend Lydia, a fellow rebel whose mother, Magda, sets off a series of events that will alter the course of the two girls' lives.
About this Author
Ann Charney was born in Poland and raised in Montreal. She is a novelist, essayist, journalist, and screenwriter who has an MA in French literature from McGill University. She later travelled to Paris to study at the Sorbonne, where she earned a license en lettres. She has won two National Magazine Awards, the Chatelaine Fiction Prize, and the Canadian Authors'Association Prize. Her novels have been published in Canada, the US, Italy, France, and Germany.
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