Book Reviews of The Fig Eater

The Fig Eater
The Fig Eater
Author: Jody Shields
ISBN-13: 9780316785648
ISBN-10: 0316785644
Publication Date: 3/2000
Pages: 311
Rating:
  • Currently 3.2/5 Stars.
 24

3.2 stars, based on 24 ratings
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

28 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed The Fig Eater on + 165 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Dora, a young woman (based on Sigmund Freud's famous patient), is found murdered in one of Vienna's parks. The inspector pursues the murderer using logic and observing the witnesses; his wife, together with her friend Wally, also embarks on solving the crime, but using opposite methods.

This is a great read, Vienna in 1910 really comes to life.

Note: If you've been to Vienna and have visited the famous cafes, don't read this on an empty stomach! The inspector's wife and her friend frequently meet in coffeehouses, ordering fabulous desserts.
reviewed The Fig Eater on
Helpful Score: 9
Very very very very very very boooorrrrinnngg. Sweet God. Skip this snoozefest and read Caleb Carr instead. Blah!
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 45 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 6
Vienna 1910--This book feels like it was written in the early 20th century. Mystery, romance, Sigmund Freud--what more could you ask for?
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 149 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
A very unusual and original book about a murdered woman and the hunt for her killer. I enjoyed it immensely.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 450 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Here's a fascinating historical mystery. Fiction, but populated by real and composite figures from 1910 Vienna. A smart, enjoyable read.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 307 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
An unexpected murder story in historic Vienna. Also strong pschoanalytical and feminist themes. Described the the Chicago Tribune as "stylish and compelling" - I couldn't agree more! Excellent book.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The author's writing kept me reading, creating a fascination with the unusual characters and turn of events. The novel takes place in 1910, in Vienna, where the murder of a young girl captures the hearts and minds of a police detective and his wife.
reviewed The Fig Eater on
Helpful Score: 3
This book got rave reviews before I hunted it down and read it. It comes up with a story of a young girl who supposedly treated by Sigmund Freud in Vienna. The review I read made it sound fascinating, but I am sorry to say that it was quite a let-down. Nothing exciting at all. I read it over a year ago and I barely remember the book. That is my way of know if a book is good -- whether I remember the story over time.

The story does describe an interesting time and place. I haven't read much about old Vienna and that was good. But the mystery and detective story were not engaging.

Good luck with the read. It could be to other people's liking.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Well written, intriguing book. I was a little disapointed at the ending though.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 73 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This Book has been compared to the Alienist. It's a thriller-murder mystery that offers real suspense colorfully set in late imperial Vienna.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 4 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
Just read the first 30 pages and the last 30 pages, the rest is immaterial.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 12 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
I read this book for our book club, and found it somewhat confusing and difficult to understand all of the inferences between the husband and his wife. Many deviant subtlies, I defiantly see the "Fraud" in this book and I am not one of his fans. I would not recommend this book.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 69 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Excellent first novel! Lots of details show the research that went into the writing of the book. Starts slowly, picks up speed and had me breathless at times!
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A fascinating look at the lack of forensics in the not-so-distant past! Uneven character development, but a good mystery.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 106 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Not sure what it was about this book that made it so challenging for me to enjoy. Great time period, lots of details about dress, culture, food, even fascinating details about forensic techniques of the time. The characters, I think, are really hard to like. Maybe that's it. Mind you, they are rich, multi-dimensional, and definitely have lots of empathy and life written into them. I also could not get passed one of the main female character's name throughout the whole book, Wally lol... It was dreadful to me. I was relieved to be done, and underwhelmed by the conclusion. Murder mystery have never been my favorite genre, but I have started Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, and am enjoying the lively style of writing so much more. Try it, maybe you'll like it.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 272 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
An excellent book. Highly recommend it.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 41 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Set in Vienna, 1910, a murder investigation uncovers a fascinating time and characters. Unique prose, screenplay style detailing, and a dark, rich plot. Very worthwhile novel.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 16 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I have a fondness for novels set at the turn of the turn of the 20th century that feature new police technologies, like the study of fingerprints. (Caleb Carr's "The Alienist" is a good example.

I expected Jody Shields "The Fig Eater" to be of this genre. The novel, set in early 20th century Vienna, begins with a mysterious murder of a young woman and the ensuing police investigation. However, while the mystery remains a primary thread throughout the book, the focus quickly shifts from the police investigation to the relationship between the chief inspector and his wife. The wife becomes interested in solving the case without her husband's knowledge, and their parallel investigations put a strain on their marriage. This dynamic becomes the central drama in the novel.

Shields writes well. However, I had not set out to read a novel about a marriage, and found it uninteresting. (Perhaps if I had been in search of such a novel I would have enjoyed it more.) Further, the wife is obsessed with superstition, the paranormal, and the like. This irritated me to no end. I felt I'd been the victim of a bait-and-switch, in which I'd been promised lots of material about the development of new technologies at the beginning of the 20th century and had instead been given seemingly endless prose about werewolves. I can't recommend this book, despite the obvious care in research taken by the author.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 15 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Murder mystery set in Vienna in 1910. A first novel for the author. It was a little hard to get into.
reviewed The Fig Eater on
Helpful Score: 1
Good mystery. Historical detail was very interesting.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 88 more book reviews
Good read
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 69 more book reviews
Another kind of book that I wouldn't usually red but I like it a lot, nevertheless.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 45 more book reviews
Vienna, 1910. The hunt for a killerbegins in the darkness of a hot August night, when an 18 year old girl is found brutally murdered near the Imperial Palace....this book feels like it was written in the early part of the 20th century, though it was published in 2000
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 2 more book reviews
I am a big British mystery fan (Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes) so this was a bit of a departure for me. However, I did enjoy the mystery although I felt there were too many side stories along the way. This book does quite a bit of jumping around because both the husband and wife are trying to solve the mystery. When it kept to the task of the mystery at hand, it was quite enjoyable.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 32 more book reviews
I enjoyed this book so much. Psychological, charming, suspenseful.
reviewed The Fig Eater on
I have not read, but a friend read and did not recommend it.
reviewed The Fig Eater on + 41 more book reviews
From the cover . . . "Vienna, 1910. The hunt for a killer begins in the darkness of a hot August night, when an eighteen-year-old girl named Dora (loosely inspired by Freud's famous patient) is found brutally murdered near the Imperial Palace . . .

"Hailed as one of the most remarkable literary debuts of recent years, The Fig Eater is at once a page-turning tale of murder, sleuthing, and sexual secrets and a rich, glittering evocation of a city and a culture in fateful transition."
reviewed The Fig Eater on
My book may be the PBC edition. It has the picture that was on the hardcover version.