Distantly Related to Freud Secondary Title

In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.

But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.

Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.

Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.

The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.

Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.

The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.

Ann Charney-Distantly Related to Freud

“With its winsome protagonist and the palpable interplay between innocence and the shadows that encroach on it, Charney has written one of the most endearing novels of the season.”
Montreal Review of Books 

“Charney’s narration is elegant and understated throughout…[and] the novel offers considerable insight into the increasingly complex mind of an ambitious young writer.”
Quill and Quire 

“The voice of the narrator, Ellen, is strong and true, giving this delicious novel the ingenuous power of a memoir.”
The Walrus

Ann Charney’s novels  Dobryd and Rousseau’s Garden were published  in the US, Canada, France, Germany  and Italy. Her short stories have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Chatelaine, Paris Transcontinental, Saturday Night, Descant, Canadian Forum, and Queen’s Quarterly.

Cormorant  Fall 2008
Hurtubise World French 2010

Distantly Related to Freud

An affecting coming-of-age tale of a precocious, wary girl in the 1950s and 1960s

Ellen is the central hope of her mother and a motley family of refugees who washed ashore in Montreal after fleeing war-torn Europe.

Ellen’s best friend Lydia enjoys more freedom (or neglect) from her mother Magda who counsels the teenagers, “Sex is power.”

Magda, a fashion executive with a wealthy, married paramour who lavishes her with gifts and travel, is a living tutorial on being a femme fatale.  Ellen tests Magda’s lessons during a summer with glamorous American cousins who are part of New York’s country club set.

Success has its consequences when she attracts the affection and the fraternity “pin” of a suitor. Ellen dispassionately loses her virginity but flees commitment.

Sex is power, indeed, but in a power play, the tables can turn abruptly. The shock occurs when Lydia is abducted. For several sickening days she cannot be found and is feared dead. The truth horrifies Ellen who learns other weapons in power’s arsenal are even more potent when wielded by a jealous, embittered wife.

Ellen’s explorations and astute comments guide us from post-war anxieties into the febrile sixties. Her cool distance masks her determined and endearing attempt at self-preservation and search for identity.

Ann Charney was born in Poland, studied at McGill University and the Sorbonne, and lives in Montreal. The government of France named her Officier de l’Ordre Arts et des Lettres.

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