In the Throes


MATHIAS B. FREESE is a writer, teacher, and psychotherapist who has authored nine books. After his first novel, The i Tetralogy on the Holocaust, his second work, I Truly Lament: Working Through the Holocaust, won the Beverly Hills Book Award, Reader’s Favorite Book Award, and was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Book Awards, the Paris Book Festival, and the Amsterdam Book Festival. In 2016, Tesserae: A Memoir of Two Summers, his first memoir, received seven awards. The following year his second memoir appeared, And Then I Am Gone. In 2019, Nina’s Memento Mori, a highly regarded memoir, was published. In 2022, Freese published Again. Again and Again: Awakening into Awareness — Essays and Stories.

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In the Throes explores the awakening of intelligence and the coming into awareness of an evolutionary mishap on a forbidding apocalyptic planet.

The story follows eponymic Gruff, the first linguistic/metaphysical awakener of his species, as he navigates identity, mentation, and ontology in relation to the Gruff’s natural prey: humankind.

Combining the writings of Freud and the spiritual truths of Krishnamurti, author Mathias B. Freese depicts the Gruff as an evolutionary dark creature—disfigured, maimed, instinct-driven, and grotesque—until he attains self-awareness and transforms into a self of artistic expression and wisdom.

As the title suggests, the reader identifies with self-struggle as it surges toward awakening and is moved by the apotheosis that closes the book. The nuanced theme: each one of us is an artist if only we take ourselves in hand and construct a life of artistic expression. The closing chapters sing to us of Isak Dinesen’s observation that an artist is never poor.

A metaphor of the evolutionary self, In the Throes is a time-processed journey into awareness—our destiny as a species.


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