Freud's Sister


Freud’s Sister: A novel by Coge Smilevski -262 pages
Book Blurb:
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 he doesn’t list 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 who never married. From her 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 the life of a woman lost to the shadows of history with astonishing insight and deep feeling.
My Review: 3 stars
The premise if this book and the first third was phenomenal! I loved it. After that it became very philosophical and a litany of learnings about Freud and his beliefs. Adolfina, the main character of this story spent many years in a psychiatric unit called “The Nest” and the insight into her life there was completely raw and heartbreaking. This book was translated beautifully, read very poetically, but I had a hard time with the continual philosophic teachings throughout the middle to near end of the book. The beginning and the ending were quite substantial and incredible to read so for that alone, the book got 5 stars.
Quotes I liked:
- There is nothing to forgive. You have not done any evil. You neglected to a do a good thing; in our lifetime, all of us neglect to do many things. And we cannot measure which lapse will allow evil to swallow someone.”

- “Maybe happiness, like sin, is in the eye of the beholder.”

- “I left his house, yet a part of me remained there, like a shadow on the floor.”
-Tags: 2013, Historical Fiction

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