New Non-Fiction by Austin Ratner

The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof

A clear and engaging call-to-arms to Freudians everywhere and a fresh diagnosis of the major problem confronting psychoanalysis today, The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof presents exciting new ideas that could help psychoanalysis reclaim its eminent place among the mental sciences. By showing how and why Freudians have avoided proving their theories, The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof charts a new future of growth and engagement in which psychoanalysis fulfills its promise: to rescue humanity from its own irrationality.

“An important, serious and timely treatment of the major problem confronting psychoanalysis today, The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof could help determine the future direction of American psychiatry and mental science. The book is compellingly readable and direct but simultaneously scholarly and edifying — impeccably well researched in relation to the historical facts it reviews and the philosophical arguments it marshals — and it culminates in impressively realistic conclusions and practical recommendations.”

MARK SOLMS, Science Director of the American Psychoanalytic Association, Research Chair of the International Psychoanalytical Association, author of The Brain and the Inner World

“This ground-breaking book is one of the most creative and valuable contributions to psychoanalysis’s epistemology. Ratner’s bold thesis, that Freud and the entire psychoanalytic community had a genuine aversion to proving psychoanalytic ideas, opens new ways of understanding the obstacles of transmitting psychoanalytic knowledge to the public. The Psychoanalyst’s Aversion to Proof convincingly demonstrates in fresh and systematic ways that validating psychoanalysis for the world is possible if analysts can recover their sense of optimism, curiosity, and ambition. This book is a remarkable achievement of profound scholarship that should be read by every clinician.”

ANER GOVRIN, Director, Doctoral Program in Psychoanalysis and Hermeneutics, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv, and author of Conservative and Radical Perspectives on Psychoanalytic Knowledge: The Fascinated and the Disenchanted

“In this perspicacious and important book, Austin Ratner gives psychoanalysis a wake-up call. Just like Freud who was ambivalent about facing his public critics and justifying the scientific validity of his theories, psychoanalysis as a discipline has unfortunately adopted an avoidant and dismissive resistance to having to defend its viability as a human science and offer proof to skeptical audiences. This lingering institutional attitude of mistrust and indifference to public opinion has contributed to obduracy, insularity, and hubris that threatens the significance and status of the discipline. Ratner challenges us to lift our heads out of the sand, join the game, and begin to offer proof in order to reclaim our relevance today.”

JON MILLS, Professor of Psychology and Psychoanalysis, Adler Graduate Professional School, Toronto, and author of Conundrums: A Critique of Contemporary Psychoanalysis

Available in Paperback – A Novel by Austin Ratner

In the Land of the Living

A Barnes and Noble “What to Read Next” Selection and an iTunes Book of the Month – A dazzling story of fathers, sons, and brothers – bound by love, divided by history. Part family saga, part coming-of-age story, In the Land of the Living is a kinetic, fresh, bawdy yet earnest shot to the heart of a novel about coping with death, and figuring out how and why to live.

“Ratner casts Auberon’s struggle in mythic terms, mixing Isaac Babel with Chaucerian adventure as he makes his way into the gentrified world of American success. Four stars.”

PAUL WILNER, San Francisco Chronicle

“Hilarious and brilliant … [In the Land of the Living] made me laugh like I did when I was reading Goodbye, Columbus for the first time. A combination of Beckett and Mel Brooks, it defies any reviewer’s abilities to describe … an exuberant, terrific book.”


“Austin Ratner’s In the Land of the Living made me laugh out loud, and it also left me deeply moved. Part vaudeville and part tragic opera, it dances and rages with uncommon wisdom, conveying the pain, comedy, and beauty of familial love across the generations.”

JOHN BURNHAM SCHWARTZ, author of Reservation Road and Northwest Corner

Released 2009 – A Novel by Austin Ratner

The Jump Artist

Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature – The extraordinary tale of a man who transforms himself from a victim of rampant anti-Semitism into a purveyor of the marvelous.

“In The Jump Artist Austin Ratner gives life to a story both emblematic of the horror at the heart of the 20th century—the hunted Jew—and absolutely personal in its particulars—the extraordinary life of Philippe Halsman. Ratner’s great skill is to  give us the panoramic political setting of the life, and at the same time the arresting details, the breathtaking sense of the lived experience. A terrific debut.”

Anna Funder, author of Stasiland and All That I Am!

“This elegantly-written tribute makes as beautiful a use of the darkness and light of one man’s life as a Halsman photograph of a pretty young woman.”


“A deftly constructed portrait of an artist’s extraordinary life … an absorbing read … this is a debut full of promise. Halsman would later become famous for his portraits of people jumping, which he believed unmasked them, exposing their hidden selves. Ratner’s novel is a fitting tribute.”

The Daily Telegraph