The Hypnotist


237 pages
ISBN 0-385-25846-1
DDC C813'.54





Reviewed by Susan Merskey

Susan Merskey is freelance writer in London, Ontario.


Drawn together by mutual friends and a shared love of art, Signe, a
photographer, and William, a psychiatrist, construct an intensely
private and passionate world of two. Signe quickly allows her
fascination with William to displace her commitment to work and
friendship as William begins to assert subtle, but firm, control over
her. While Signe freely exposes her thoughts and feelings to William’s
intense scrutiny, he maintains a discreet distance from his lover.
Driven by a need to penetrate the mystery of this man, Signe tries to
crack the code to his carefully guarded world of hypnosis and
psychotherapy. Eventually, she realizes just how much of her
independence she has surrendered. With the help of friends and some
startling revelations about William’s past “romantic” activities,
she gradually emerges from her confining trance.

Sheard’s prose is rich and evocative, and she engages the reader’s
attention from start to finish. Her work as a psychotherapist and
mediator is reflected in her confident, fascinating descriptions of
trance, hypnosis, hypnotic technique, and other aspects of psychology.
The Hypnotist is a worthy successor to Sheard’s first two novels, the
critically acclaimed Almost Japanese (2000) and The Swing Era (1993).


Sheard, Sarah., “The Hypnotist,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024,