98 Reasons for Being by Clare Dudman Sceptre $120 Clare Dudman worked hard on this novel - and it shows. Her bibliography, for starters, is proof of the hours spent studying Germany, the Jews and 'mental maladies' (the title of one of the texts). Her two main characters are the fictional Hannah Meyer, a 23-year-old Jew from the Frankfurt ghetto, and the real Heinrich Hoffman, a mid-19th century psychiatrist, remembered mainly for his scary disciplinary book for children, Struwwelpeter. Blending research with imagination, Dudman reveals the doctor's kind disposition. Hannah is admitted to Hoffman's asylum after she's diagnosed with nymphomania. When ice baths and electric-shock treatment fail to shake her out of her 'miseries', Hoffman tries the unconventional tack of talking to her, and slowly this coaxes her out of her shell. Despite being scorned for apparent licentiousness, it turns out she's only ever loved one man - a gentile. 98 Reasons for Being (the number of asylum inmates) is a driven novel. Real case notes and the like sometimes disrupt the flow, but the story is worth the effort.