The Good Story

The Good Story

Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy

Book - 2015
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Penguin Putnam
J.M. Coetzee's latest novel, The Schooldays of Jesus, is now available from Viking. Late Essays: 2006-2016 will be available January 2018.

J.M. Coetzee: What relationship do I have with my life history? Am I its conscious author, or should I think of myself as simply a voice uttering with as little interference as possible a stream of words welling up from my interior?


Arabella Kurtz: One way of thinking about psychoanalysis is to say that it is aimed at setting free the narrative or autobiographical imagination.

The Good Story is a fascinating dialogue about psychotherapy and the art of storytelling between a writer with a long-standing interest in moral psychology and a psychotherapist with training in literary studies. Coetzee and Kurtz consider psychotherapy and its wider social context from different perspectives, but at the heart of both of their approaches is a concern with narrative. Working alone, the writer is in control of the story he or she tells. The therapist, on the other hand, collaborates with the patient in developing an account of the patient's life and identity that is both meaningful and true.

In a meeting of minds that is illuminating and thought-provoking, the authors discuss both individual psychology and the psychology of the group: the school classroom, gangs and the settler nation, in which the brutal deeds of ancestors are accommodated into a national story. Drawing on great writers like Cervantes and Dostoevsky and psychoanalysts like Freud and Melanie Klein, Coetzee and Kurtz explore the human capacity for self-examination, our wish to tell our own life stories and the resistances we encounter along the way.

Random House, Inc.
A fascinating dialogue on the human desire to make up stories between Nobel Prize–winning author J. M. Coetzee and psychotherapist Arabella Kurtz

The Good Story is an exchange between a writer with a long-standing interest in moral psychology and a psychotherapist with training in literary studies. Coetzee and Kurtz consider psychotherapy and its wider social context from different perspectives, but at the heart of both their approaches is a fascination with narrative. Working alone, the writer is in control of the story he or she tells. The therapist, on the other hand, collaborates with the patient in telling the story that might reveal the “truth.”

The authors discuss both individual psychology and the psychology of the group: the school classroom, the gang, the settler nation in which the brutal deeds of the ancestors must be accommodated into a national story. In a meeting of the minds that is illuminating, surprising, and thought provoking, Coetzee and Kurtz explore the human capacity for self-examination—our attempts to understand our own individual life stories as well as our part in the larger story through language.

Baker & Taylor
Explores the narrative nature of psychotherapy, its relationship to literature, and its broader social context in the form of a dialogue between the two authors.

Baker
& Taylor

A Nobel Prize-winning author and a psychoanalyst explore, describe and analyze the human experience, in a revealing, surprising and provocative book that helps us to understand our individual life stories as well as our part in the larger story through language.

Publisher: New York : Viking, c2015
ISBN: 9780525429517
Branch Call Number: 616.8914 COE
Characteristics: viii, 198 p. ;,22 cm
Additional Contributors: Kurtz, Arabella

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