“In Ehrenberg’s debut novel, a doctor and patient adapt to their changing circumstances by finding solace in each other.
Seasoned clinical psychologist Avery Frontiera has a new, court-ordered patient, Clare Thomas Lane, who loves breaking rules, struggles with kleptomania, and would rather be anywhere but a therapist’s couch. The strict boundaries of the psychologist-patient
relationship are blurred from their very first session, when Clare finds Avery’s negative pregnancy test in the private office bathroom. Despite this unorthodox beginning, they make progress and begin to trust and even like each other in the ensuing months.
Clare gains insight into her compulsion to steal, addresses the early loss of her mother, and deals with her biological father’s rejection through various methods, including dream analysis, free association, and art therapy; Ehrenberg’shandling of the psychoanalysis process in these scenes is expert and delicate …
Over the course of the novel, Ehrenberg expertly orchestrates several different characters and plotlines, which all meet in a surprising place; she also ably gives even
the most unlikable characters sympathetic qualities … this is a strong character study about how people react when backed into a corner.
A complex and … engaging novel about temptation and ethical quandaries.”
Kirkus Review (Awarded A Top 10% Of Reviews Designation)
The Language of Dreams is a unique story, artfully told.
It’s a page-turner, a psychological thriller with elements of magical realism that takes place in contemporary multicultural settings with political relevance. The plot centers around two main female characters, mature therapist Avery, and her young patient Clare.
One is wiser, but infertile, the other rash, searching, and soon pregnant. One is a dancer, one an artist. Author Ehrenberg gives us breathtaking descriptions of Avery in the ballet studio, Clare with her canvases and photographs, navigating their relationships with the men who gravitate to them, as lovers, partners and colleagues.
Women’s issues and themes thread through the narrative: desire and non-desire for motherhood, friendship, the grief of separation and miscarriage, biological clocks, love, loss and renewal, choices and their consequences, adoption and the mystery of how lives intertwine.
As an experienced psychologist herself, the author knows the challenges of mother-daughter communication and the weight of family secrets. Her portraits are nuanced and finely drawn, the dialogues authentic with emotional depth. I find the suspenseful storytelling very commercial, lending itself to dramatization for film, TV, and audio.
Although there is a resolution at the end, it leaves the reader with questions, hoping for a sequel about how the protagonists will build their lives.This is women’s literary fiction for the upmarket book club audience, particularly relevant for women in middle adulthood, and can also interest men and younger readers.
I highly recommend it!
Aliss Terrell, American writer, musician, filmmaker, Paris, France
Wendy Goldman Rohm, NYT Best Selling Author, Director, The Rohm Literary Agency NY, L.A., Paris
Internationally Renowned Teacher and Literary Consultant
"The Language of Dreams was a pleasure to read. The characters were vivid, the plot was twisty and engaging, and there were no dull moments. The clinical part was dead-on and will ring true with many psychotherapy practitioners, who will find themselves struggling with the same issues as the protagonist.
Could I put the book down? Sure. But did I want to? Not at all. I look forward to the sequel, Clare’s Lads."
Dr. James Marcia, Professor Emeritus, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia
Dr. Marcia is a clinical psychologist, an internationally recognized researcher in the domain of psychological development, and a master psychotherapist.
"The heart is a helical structure; so too is the Language of Dreams, Marion Ehrenberg's premiere novel. Unraveling mysteries and folding back on time, this novel reveals the cyclical nature of all living things through the meeting of two supposed strangers, Clare and Avery. Marion's use of language reflects the spiralling movement of a Celtic Knot and enables the reader to experience a kind of kinesthetic sympathy in this living, moving expression of their life journeys and interior worlds."
The Language of Dreams excels at creating and building the emotional and complex relationship between psychologist and patient. The author is a therapist by trade and her experience colors this entire novel and lends it an air of authenticity. Marion Ehrenberg has crafted captivating characters that feel real. This is a character driven story that focuses on human connection and how we deal with our past … The Language of Dreams is a fantastic read that provokes self-reflection in readers. This is a light mystery story that focuses on the compelling characters, their evolution, and their intriguing relationship.”
Clarion Foreword Review