Dr Neruda's Cure for Evil
Rafael Yglesias
Warner Books

What an amazing book. This novel is bound to intrigue psychotherapists, or anyone who has been in therapy.

Entertaining, thought-provoking, shocking, enlightening, puzzling, this fascinating work tackles many issues such as incest, insanity, the nature of love, the drive for power, religious, business and political creeds, therapeutic ethics -- and, of course, what (or who) is evil.

The story of a psychiatrist who has first to face his own demons, and then those of lovers and clients, this lengthy book both informs and challenges the reader. What is important to children and what adults can do about abuse are but two of the subjects written about in a style so vivid you expect to turn around and speak with Rafael, child or grown-up (sort of) man.

I'm sure I missed many of the metaphors woven into the text. And I wonder why the author chose to give the protagonist his own first name.

But I'm delighted Rafael Yglesias so well illuminates the torn loyalties that I and other children of mixed cultural backgrounds experience.

The author's grasp of therapeutic techniques and controversies is astonishing for someone who I assume is not a practitioner.

"Dr Neruda" puts a name to an ancient disturbance that has until now been passed over by the psychiatric establishment: Evil Disorder.

I am indebted to the author for clarifying why, out of the thousands of clients I've worked with over the past four decades, from only one did I sense an overpowering cloud of evil. It's because she fit Yglesias' definition about evil people who "don't appear on our [psychology] radar because we don't recognize their outline. They are not in conflict. The equation is one-sided: they don't need love and victory, only victory; they don't need peace and pleasure, only pleasure. Truly, this makes labeling them evil a definition, not a swear word to vent our disapproval."

How Dr Neruda chooses to treat the Evil Disorder will shock traditional therapists.

And leaves open the question of whether the fictional psychiatrist becomes as manipulative and as focused on victory as his evil patients.

Copyright © 1995-2007 Bryan M. Knight, MSW, PhD.

Author's Bio: 

Why is it that so many therapists write great mystery novels? Dr Bryan Knight thinks the talent comes from the delving we are required to do into the minds of disturbed people. Judge for yourself: http://therapy-insights.com