The award-winning international sensation that poses the question: Was Sigmund Freud responsible for the death of his sister in a Nazi concentration camp?
The boy in her memories who strokes her with the apple, who whispers to her the fairy tale, who gives her the knife, is her brother Sigmund.
Vienna, 1938: With the Nazis closing in, Sigmund Freud is granted an exit visa and allowed to list the names of people to take with him. He lists his doctor and maids, his dog, and his wife's sister, but not any of his own sisters. The four Freud sisters are shuttled to the Terezín concentration camp, while their brother lives out his last days in London.
Based on a true story, this searing novel gives haunting voice to Freud's sister Adolfina - "the sweetest and best of my sisters" - a gifted, sensitive woman who was spurned by her mother and never married. A witness to her brother's genius and to the cultural and artistic splendor of Vienna in the early 20th century, she aspired to a life few women of her time could attain.
From Adolfina's closeness with her brother in childhood, to her love for a fellow student, to her time with Gustav Klimt's sister in a Vienna psychiatric hospital, to her dream of one day living in Venice and having a family, Freud's Sister imagines with astonishing insight and deep feeling the life of a woman lost to the shadows of history.
©2012 Goce Smilevski (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks
I have not read the print version of this book, but I cannot imagine that my internal voice could come near to matching Barbara Rosenblatt's. This book contained a lot to think about and I was grateful to be relieved of the task of reading so that I could take in the story and think about it at the same time
I liked best the way it took a view of events, motivations, behaviour which was other than the Freudian-laden reality which is now the default assumed. In doing so it returned Freud to the dimensions of a single human man who managed to be successful in the promugation of a worldview. It made me aware that it could easily have been otherwise - that any one of the several other neuropsychiatric models which emerged at the time could have become the dominant or co-dominant model. I loved the real understanding it gave me that this current reality was not inevitable. I liked the way the side-stories created not only the feeling of the incredible intellectual fecundity of early 20th century Vienna, but of the day-to-day ordinariness of events from the point of view of the characters involved
The character who has stayed with me longest is that of Gustav Klimt's sister. Her transition from early diamond bright awareness, clarity and strength to a sad, defeated, enduring strength and generosity seems the most dreadful of all the wasted women's lives depicted, and yet I am left with a feeling of wonder at her achievements.
This is quite an intellectual book and as such not that easy to listen to. Would suit Psychologists and students of Psychology as it offers great insight into Freud. Me, who is neither, found I struggled to finish it as it became quite dreary and reflective. While I accept this is a fault of me not the book, the net result was still the same.
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