Raben harbored special affection for Ivan Neerovsky because Neerovsky was

one of the very few people who made the other

psychiatrists at the Central State Hospital look bright. Though he

would quote (without having read) The New Dogma faster than

a waterbug could cross a cup of coffee, he was

an autocrat interested in instilling fear, not a theoretician capable

of learned discourse. Though he had never read J.S. Mills,

he knew by heart the work of most anti-American Bolivian

poets. Though he railed against capitalism in his dyspeptic articles,

he couldn’t muster a convincing argument in favor of Krinsky.


Paraphrases from the novel Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin.