I’m Calling the Police

“Something heavy is going on … the past is erupting … my two lives, night and day, are joining. I need to talk.” Irv Yalom’s old medical school friend was making a plea for help. In their fifty years of friendship, Bob Berger had never divulged his nocturnal terrors to his close comrade. Now, finally, he found himself forced to.


In I’m Calling the Police, Berger recounts to Yalom the anguish of a war-torn past: By pretending he was a Christian, Berger survived the Holocaust. But after a life defined by expiation and repression, a dangerous encounter has jarred loose the painful memory of those years. Together, they interpret the fragments of the horrific past that haunt his dreams.

I’m Calling the Police is a powerful exploration of Yalom’s most vital themes–memory, fear, love, and healing–and a glimpse into the life of the man himself.


As the farewell banquet of my fiftieth medical school reunion came to a close, Bob Brent, my old friend, my only remaining friend from medical school days, gestured to me that he needed to talk. Though we had taken different professional directions, he into heart surgery and I into the talking cure for broken hearts, we had established a close bond that we both knew would be lifelong. When Bob took my arm to pull me aside, I knew something portentous was up. Bob rarely touched me. We shrinks notice things like that. He leaned to my ear and rasped, "Something heavy is going on.... The past is erupting.... My two lives, night and day, are joining. I need to talk…"

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La Croix

“L'Américain Irvin Yalom, psychiatre et écrivain, exprime une nouvelle fois son incroyable sens de la narration. Son récit fulgurant restitue à merveille ce moment particulier où le passé, soudain, resurgit. Où quelqu'un que l’on croyait connaître, un ami, se met à parler....”

“The American psychiatrist and writer, Irvin Yalom, expresses once again his unbelievable sense of narration. His blazing story marvelously restores that particular moment when the past suddenly resurfaces. When the friend you thought you knew begins to speak....”

Les Mondes des Livres

In France there is a coterie of admirers of Irvin Yalom.  A small circle that continues to grow.  But those who devoured Love's Executioner, Staring at the Sun, or Lying on the Couch may be surprised by I'm Calling the Police, his latest, very classical, story.... I'm Calling the Police is based on a drama that had been buried for a half century.... At its epicenter lies the extermination of the Jews during the second World War in Hungary.... There is redemption at the end of the road, but in Yalom's story, a supplementary charm is released from the Proustian reminiscence that brings about reconciliation with the past.