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Wharton, B. (2005). Plaut, Fred. Between Losing and Finding. The Life of an Analyst. London: Free Association Books, 2004. Pp. xvii + 179. Pbk. £14.95/$25.00.. J. Anal. Psychol., 50(1):103-107.

(2005). Journal of Analytical Psychology, 50(1):103-107

Plaut, Fred. Between Losing and Finding. The Life of an Analyst. London: Free Association Books, 2004. Pp. xvii + 179. Pbk. £14.95/$25.00.

Review by:
Barbara Wharton, M.A.

Edited by:
David Hewison and Mark Kuras

‘Between Losing and Finding’ is an intriguing and, as it turns out, a significant title. Between losing and finding there is the searching for what has been lost, sometimes literally the keys, or the name that has slipped one's memory, or metaphorically, the inner search for meaning, for illumination, for resolution. It is this inner search, on different levels, whether stimulated by Plaut's professional self as an analyst, or springing from the human being looking back on a long life and trying to get a sense of its shape and meaning, which forms the core theme of the book and brings together its disparate aspects.

Plaut introduces the theme of loss in the first chapter with a vivid and dramatic description of his aunt's frantic search for a purse she has lost. Losing things was a regular occurrence, and an affliction from which he also suffers. His account conveys the emotional atmosphere of his paternal grandmother's family, his aunts and his uncle, with whom he frequently spent holidays as a child, and who supported him through his medical studies after the family's migration to South Africa in the early nineteen-thirties. The grandmother's care during the holidays was needed: Plaut's mother was widowed at the end of the First World War, when he was six and his brother three. She ran a ladies' tailoring establishment on which she relied solely to support her family. Plaut has of course given much thought to how he was affected by growing up without' a father; one effect was that he fell in with his mother's dependence on him as a kind of substitute husband; he felt obliged to please her and fit in with her, although less consciously he strove for independence and envied his younger brother the freer relationship he had with their mother.

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