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Christopher Hogart is the penname of a practicing psychotherapist who was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School for twenty years. Encouraged to write by Herbert Read and Lionel Trilling, now, years later, not wanting to be hasty, Hogart has published Shrunk. He lives with his wife and children in the Boston area.
Practioners of psychotherapy often think of themselves as artists--after all isn't psychotherapy an "art?" But not too deep beneath the surface of this artistic delusion is a tumultuous world of pettiness, pretentions, back-stabbing, psychopathy and other shmutz that make Christopher Hogart's satiric takedown of the profession a delight to read. I found myself re-reading sections of the book just to better savor the words and the images they evoked. Hogarth's intention is not to demolish the psychotherapeitic profession. Rather he intends to humanize it by demonstrating that practitioners share the same slings and arrows of outrageous fortune that for better or worse all of us experience. Shrunk is a fun read. Buy and enjoy it.
Shrunk, Chris Hogart's first novel, takes academic psychiatrists off the pedestal and into real life. The result: "Shrinks" are "shrunk", and once the veneer of academic and professional pretentions is removed, some strange characters appear. Prendergast, older and established, turns out to be abusive with his patients and malicious as a human being, while his counterpart, Avalon, is a decent chap but a tad naïve and impulsive. The explosive chemistry between the two permeates their personal lifes and nearly destroys their careers. In his satire Hogart mocks the narrow-minded fondness of promotions and status in this community of academic psychiatrists. But beyond that, Hogart uses humor as a tool and finds an effective way to expose things that have to be said about modern psychiatry. A page turner!