Author(s) : Christopher Bollas


Book Details

  • Publisher : Karnac Books
  • Published : December 2023
  • Pages : 208
  • Category :
  • Catalogue No : 97591
  • ISBN 13 : 9781800132474
  • ISBN 10 : 1800132476

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Christopher Bollas presents us with a new literary form in his Conversations: twenty-three unique dialogues to captivate, amuse, and inspire.

The psychoanalyst Paula Heimann asked: ‘Who is speaking? To whom? About what? And why now?’ We speak with the voice and position of many others – mothers, fathers, siblings, teachers – and ordinary conversation therefore stages the history of our interpersonal engagements. Heimann’s questions also apply when we talk to ourselves, and our inner dialogues reveal the hidden genius of our private world in which we are both actor and audience, poet and reader, politician and electorate. It’s quite a ride, and an art form all of its own.

Reviews and Endorsements

Bollas invites the fascinating possibility that psychoanalysis is akin to poetic conjecture
Why am I here
What are we doing in this room together
I don’t know I don’t know
Could it be
Why me
This funny sad book wanders through the everyday and reflects on the nothingness of being
Disappearing down the drains - the uncanny fear of the loss of self. Terror
Why me
Why me
Anish Kapoor

Christopher Bollas brings a psychoanalytic and absurdist mind to ordinary conversations, lifting them into a form akin to theatre. Funny, larky, and existential, Bollas turns the private inside out and these exchanges voice the surprising, yet recognisable, inner feelings of our contemporary moment.
Mona Simpson

This is a very different experience than reading a realistic novel or short story, or even a realistic play. First, it's not clear what this form is – not poetry really, not plays really, not vignettes. Conversations is indeed the best description, but the author is not aiming for verisimilitude. He has cut the dialogue down; it's spare, subtextual. The closest I have read is Beckett. It's like the dialogue in Waiting for Godot.

Bollas is known as a psychoanalytic theorist, but he is wearing a different hat here. He has written novels and plays before. You will be missing a lot if you try to read this as psychoanalytic. It is a different category.

There are twenty-odd pieces, conversations in the book. The author is not trying to be all deep or disguised. You do get a sense of the actual person behind the pieces. Foibles and idiosyncrasies and all. That's a good thing. Some of the pieces I read through and I was curious about them, but only intellectually. Then there were 5 or 6 that when I read them sensitively, they got me on an emotional level. You get some modernist dialogue like this, and it hits you behind the eyes: it's poignant. It stays with you.
5 star Amazon review from August Baker

A unique book that moves us in a variety of ways. It is at once funny as can be, and then demonstrating a large array of contemporary concerns. It shows us the vacuity of so much of today's everyday life. Our looking for fulfillment in consumerism, our ideologies that render us effectively unreflective and manipulable, our derailed but ceaseless attempts to liberate ourselves even as we haven't a clue how to do so. Political lures that threaten us while we are oddly but falsely comforted by them. Ultimately, that such a book can be written gives us hope even as we live a failing human project. So, disturbing and light-hearted at the same time.
5 star Amazon review from Joseph Scalia III, Psychoanalyst

This is a wonderful "little" book: impish, challenging, disturbing, hilarious. Bollas strives to join up the worlds of discourse: what we say or write to one another and what we say or write to ourselves. These differing forms of conversation converge and that fusion allows Bollas to play with their similarities and differences. As always, Bollas pushes the edge. Enjoy.
5 star Amazon review from Danielle Coffey

I usually find Bollas brilliant but was surprised by how amusing this book is.
5 star Amazon review from Office of EBPR

Table of Contents

- Brand new
- Can I help you?
- It feels good
- Customer relations
- Shopping
- Memories are made of this
- On board
- Reading
- Looking through the window
- The overall situation
- What is happening?
- Do I look stupid?
- Along came a spider
- The man with no worries
- What is it?
- Cyberspace
- On the same page
- Self with other
- Should we enter?
- The delay
- A thought searching for a thinker
- Being and nothingness
- So I went down to shop


About the Author(s)

Christopher Bollas is a member of the British Psychoanalytical Society, the Los Angeles Institute and Society for Psychoanalytic Studies, and Honorary Member of the Institute for Psychoanalytic Training and Research. He is a member of ESGUT, the European Study Group of Unconscious Thought.

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Customer Reviews

Our customers have given this title an average rating of 1 out of 5 from 1 review(s), add your own review for this title.

Vilhelm Meiter, MD on 24/12/2023 19:52:33

Rating1Rating2Rating3Rating4Rating5 (1 out of 5)

Bollas has in fact contributed, I would say marginally when compared to Searles for example to the field of PSA. Plus, with a careful reading of Searles, one can see certainly, at the very least the germination of Bollas' ideas. Conversations, has at its publication PR a notation that Bollas has produced a new style of literature. He has not and I have to say Conversations is simply a worthless clinical publication. If Bollas were not Bollas and have a following this work would NEVER be publishable. It is simply a narcissistic projection of a 'bunch' of quips at best, made to seem as though they are UCs somehow profound. I would suggest is the reader is interested in Bollas' work, stick with The Shadow of the Object, but not much after that is really worth the time. Plus, just a side note, in referring to 'Dr. Bollas, it MUST be noted that his doctorate is in LITERATURE and not a clinical doctorate. He has an MSW from Smith, which for some reason he simply refuses to list in his credentials. I find this actually misleading. Final thought, is that this work is a waste of ink and paper.

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