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.
Peter D. Kramer photo courtesy of the author