05 June 2014

Little Demon in the City of Light, by Steven Levingston

Washington Post Review

Maureen read this book and recommended it to me.

It's interesting in many ways, and wasn't much of a chore to read. A glimpse of the 1890s, a time when civilization was in transition. Hypnotism and early neurology plays a part in this story, in which a young woman, Gabrielle Bompard,  has been an accomplice to murder, and the question arises, was she controlled by her lover, Michel Eyraud? Had he hypnotized her, instructing her to assist in the foul deed, effectively removing her will, and thereby making her innocent by reason of hypnosis? Had his post-hypnotic suggestions caused her to lie and fail to remember important details of the case?

For me, the entire story was overshadowed by the horror of the guillotine, which was still in use at the time. There is something especially evil about State-sanctioned murder, even when done in revenge for a crime as horrid as the one committed in this story.

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