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The Saturday Morning Murder

The Saturday Morning Murder
by Batya Gur, HarperCollins,’92, $8,00

The Saturday Morning Murder, a whodunit, translated from Hebrew, takes place at the fictitious, highly reputable institute of Psychoanalysis in Jerusalem. (Batya Cur, a best-selling mystery writer, herself is married to an Israeli-trained psychoanalyst, and Is intimately aquainted with such institutes.) A young doctor, opening up the facility in preparation for a professional conference, finds the presenter (his own analyst) dead in her chair. The analyst was brilliant, beautiful and single. Did she, as the senior analyst, know too much? Suspicion immediately revolves around charges against congressional members. “The Anita Hill effect” brought issues center stage as women expressed their fury. And, on afternoon talk shows, family secrets dealing with incest, rape, wife battering and child abuse became non-taboo subjects.

In the aftermath, women elected a pro-choice president, and ran for, and won, unprecedented political offices. Wolf points out that as 51% of the population, women have power, but to harness it, the feminist movement must reach the alienated mainstream. She says it is time for women to claim the politics of the empowered, to move from victim to activist, from asking for what history has denied us, to pursuing what we really desire. The feminist agenda must become relevant to all and rouse the fans of Oprah , and Glamour, not only MS.

Wolf encourages women to use their money to support candidates and issues that matter to them. Even “treacherous ideas can, if permitted, cross-pollinate and breed new fruit.” Every woman counts, and therefore, “feminism should mean the freedom to think, not thinking one way.”

The core of Wolfs “power feminism,” is that “women and their experiences matter as much as men…have the right to deter-members of the Institute (all of whom know too much), and the inspector himself becomes besotted by the assumed “royal magic” of psychoanalysis.

A book that playfully and critically uses both the authentic tools of psychoanalysis as well as its emperor-has-no-clothes contradictions, it is also a quintessentially Israeli read, conveying the complexities inherent in Israelis’ cultural assumptions regarding what is public and what is private. The concreteness of the inspector is a pleasant foil to the mysteriousness of his suspects, and, in the end, Our entertains us with a wonderful grasp of the complementarity of the world of feeling and that of action.