Log In. Toggle navigation MENU. Email Address. A sensitive portrayal and a well-crafted debut. Review Posted Online: Aug. Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. Email address:. Please provide an email address. Categories of Interest: Select All. Current Affairs. Historical Fiction. True Crime. Profession: Author. Event Coordinator. Film Executive. Foreign Publisher. This book is historical fiction, not biography- it would be difficult to write a biography of Adolfina as there is not much known about her.
A fair part of the novel takes place in the asylum, describing the patients there. All of the people except Sigmund Freud have hard, hard lives. The story is brutal and moving, albeit written in lovely prose no mean feat when the story was written in Macedonian and translated to English. Did he not value them? He was dying of cancer; did the pain affect his thinking? The question goes unanswered. I personally thought the story was good, but I did not enjoy it. May 18, Annette rated it liked it. It is not a work of non-fiction. It is not a memoir, nor biography. I even hesitate to call it historical fiction.
The author states in the Author's Note that little is known about Freud's sister Adolfina. There is a lot of freedom for artistic expression or interpretation by the author in Freud's Sister.
The author chose to use the first person voice of Adolfina I'll explain more about that underneath My Thoughts. She was a younger sister to Sigmund Freud. Sigmund, or Siggi, as his mother called him, was the child doted on in the family. His parents sent him to college, and to medical school.
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His parents were of humble means. Although they were Jewish by blood, they were not Jewish by religion. The children knew little about their ancestry. They were considered to be agnostic. Aldolphina grew up with a passive-aggressive mother. She could be loving one minute and vindictive the next moment. This is one of the few facts known about Adolphina, was the hostile relationship between mother and daughter. Adolphina was a super-sensitive person, dependent, clingy.
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These character traits were magnified having an abusive mother. Adophina's world was her thoughts and dreams.
Her voice in this story is mainly of her thoughts, of words that never bring forth her feelings. Her life is a life of repression. Then, the story backs up to the beginnings of the Freud family, centering around Adolphina.
Why Freud Survives
My Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this book and give it a 3. I'll explain. A book about Sigmund Freud's family, with himself as a main character, would not be complete without using his beliefs. These beliefs include his thoughts on monotheism, religion, dreams, sex, after-life, repression, and psycho-analysis. We will never know if any of these beliefs were believed by Adolphina.
We can only speculate. I did wonder at times if the author made Adolphina the female version of Sigmund Freud. Maybe Adolphina believed as Freud did, and maybe she did not. The family was dysfunctional. The mother had large "issues" in repressed or unacknowledged anger, that she took out on her daughter Adolphina.
- 1856 - 1939.
- Newest listings by Sigmund Freud.
- FREUD'S SISTER : A NOVEL.
She abused Adolphina. Sigmund, was poor in character for his lax of moral judgment as far as his sister was concerned. Even children who've had little parental authority do not act out in some of the ways he did. What he did, and what any one like him does, leaves scars. I know this is a thought in story that is fictional, but it is my opinion.
And further Freud is a repressed individual as well. He is repressed in morality. He is repressed in the ability to make moral decisions. He is repressed in the ability to believe period. He prefers to discussions and detached actions. The descriptive prose in the book went on too long at some points. I felt a bit over-done, like burnt toast. Symbolism is over-used, using the word and descriptions of dreams, repressed words and feelings, birth and babies signifying life. There is zero happiness or lightheartedness in this book.
If you're already depressed, don't read it. It is a book that would make a good book discussion. Skip any appetizers or dinner, just conversation on a controversial belief system. Why did I give this book a 3 for good? Gave me a better understanding of Sigmund Freud's belief system. Was a different sort of read for me. A quote from the book I did not say I like the quote or agree with it, just a quote : "All normal people are normal in the same way; each mad person is mad in his own way.
Jul 16, Orsolya rated it it was amazing Shelves: historical-fiction , library I am admittedly not a fan of Freud and could sit and discuss his many flaws for hours. The novel begins with a WWII introduction which is very moving on its own. In fact, it is so powerful, that the simplest of comments induced tears and images which caused me to close the book because the material was difficult to digest. Making the novel even more powerful, is its calm and steady storytelling and characterization of Adolfina which is more memorable than having an agitated or angry environment relating to the subject matter.
Either he has an abusive mother or is an even more remarkable writer than thought, as the actions of Aldolfina are spot-on and hit on personal level for those with such experiences. There are some areas which are slightly choppy which is either due to the editor or a loss in translation.
Yet, Smilevski seems to know both the characters and the readers so intimately, that it chillingly feels like we are simply reading a self-diary. Although it is bouncy; the bounciness is smooth and natural solidifying representation, symbolism, and poetry which make much sense of the novel and of life itself. Strengthening the novel and making it even more unique; Smilevski exemplifies skill and creativity. Smilevski seamlessly conjoins depth with a story and flows with the touch of classical literature. Jun 07, Petra rated it it was ok. After reading this book, I had to look up Adolfina's real history and found that there isn't one.
She's briefly mentioned in Sigmund Freud's Wiki bio and a picture shows a dreamy, weak looking young lady. Not much to go on when writing a book. The author had his work cut out for him. All in all, this is a depressing book telling a story of a very depressing life. I can only hope that Adolfina's real life was happier than this. It's almost as if the author has made Adolfina a female Freud, living t After reading this book, I had to look up Adolfina's real history and found that there isn't one.
It's almost as if the author has made Adolfina a female Freud, living through the concepts and arguments of Freud's psychological beliefs. I can't say that for certain, not knowing a lot about Freud's beliefs. Throughout the book, the two debate and philosophise about life, meaning and purpose.
There's no joy or happiness in this book.
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Life is bleak. View all 4 comments. Jun 19, Danniau is currently reading it Recommended to Danniau by: The author. The author came to Brussels last week and was asked questions on why he choose for this topic.
FREUD'S SISTER : A NOVEL
He was intrigued he said by the question : why Freud did not put his four sisters on the list of people he could take with him to London. To write this book he took seven years to read many letters Freud wrote to his family and colleagues and went through lots of archives to get a picture of the time and on psychoanalysis as well.
Jun 08, Sarah rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Jill, Rebecca. The language is so sensual. It often repeats sentences, even paragraphs but by changing the contexts, the words take on another, more complex meaning. The premise is based on reality and makes for a troubling scenario. As the Germans are invading the Austrian-Hungarian empire in Soon after his departure, the four elderly women are taken to a concentration camp where they are killed in the gas chamber. This is not a spoiler, since you can read all of this on the back cover. Yet, he remains a supporting character.
I just loved this book! You'll have to wait til September to get it in bookstores though! Aug 12, Cynthia Mcarthur rated it it was amazing. Adolfina Freud was one of many children, and was a sickly child. Her only comfort as a child were the special times she would spend with her older brother Sigmund. He helped rid her of the torture of her mother's cruel words of regretting her birth because of her strangeness, her sickliness.
As time went on and the family's golden Siggie began to grow apart from them all, and Adolfina finds her own introspective view point constantly at odds with the rest of the world, still she finds that her w Adolfina Freud was one of many children, and was a sickly child. As time went on and the family's golden Siggie began to grow apart from them all, and Adolfina finds her own introspective view point constantly at odds with the rest of the world, still she finds that her world somehow revolves around her brother, or his maybe around hers.
Adolfina has friends, a lover, dreams and conversation but is always unfulfilled, empty, longing. Her mother continues to tell her that she is an oddity, an unhappy spinster. But Adolfina is full of her observations, thoughts, philosophy. And when it become too much, she retreats to the Nest, a madhouse. Years of thoughts, observations, strange contentment, slip by, almost without notice, until she finds that her friends are old, her brother and his works are not immortal afterall, and life is everchanging, yet remaining the same.
The Nazis come when Adolfina and her sisters are elderly, frail and unable to defend themselves. Golden Siggie has the documents to take himself and his family to London and safety, but he chooses to leave his sisters' names off the list, though he did include his dog. This was an extremely poetic book. It includes a lot of philosophical conversations between characters, and of course, a lot of psychology.
Although the entire book was thought-provoking and eloquent, the final chapter, the final pages put this book into the 5 star category. Wonderful read. View 1 comment. Jul 12, Steve rated it it was amazing. I probably gave this book too many stars, but I really enjoyed reading it and was so impressed by the author's ingenuity, imagination, and style. To give voice to Sigmund Freud's sister Adolfina--wonderful challenge to set oneself.
Through Adolfina, we experience something of the lives of late 19th-early 20th century women in Vienna; we gain new insights into Freudian psychology and philosophy because he didn't just write "science," he wrote about ideas and theology ; we experience the emotiona I probably gave this book too many stars, but I really enjoyed reading it and was so impressed by the author's ingenuity, imagination, and style. Through Adolfina, we experience something of the lives of late 19th-early 20th century women in Vienna; we gain new insights into Freudian psychology and philosophy because he didn't just write "science," he wrote about ideas and theology ; we experience the emotional struggles of friendship, familial relationships, and doctor-patient relations.
The final chapter is stunning. Of course, having read this novel, I had to read up online about Freud's family, and other historical characters that Smilevski uses. He surely was inspired by Virginia Wolf's meditations on Shakespeare's sister. I'm also pleased to have now read a book by a Macedonian writer! Cool all around.
- Melancholy in the novels of Goce Smilevski (Coversation with Spinoza and Freud's Sister).
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- Freud's Sister - AbeBooks - Goce Smilevski: !
- The Making of Chicana/o Studies: In the Trenches of Academe (Latinidad: Transnational Cultures in the United States).
- Freud's sister : a novel - Evergreen Indiana.
You won't soon forget Adolfina and the other female characters in the book--there are a few striking male characters, certainly Sigmund Freud, Rainer, Dr. Goethe , but this is very much a book from women's point of view. Apr 05, Brenda rated it it was amazing Shelves: goodreads-giveaway , historical-fiction , read-in It was the winner of the European Union Prize for Literature Based on a true story, the novel gives voice to Freud's younger, favourite sister Adolfina who ended up being executed in a WWII concentration camp.
The novel gives Adolfina's perceptions of the family dynamics within the Freud family which will over time become the basis for most of Freud's theories on childhood regression, guilt, trauma, the unconscious mind, sexuality and ultimately the meaning of existence. I think that those readers with a previous knowledge of Freudianism or who have an interest in learning about it will absolutely enjoy this novel. Jul 06, Gabriel Calancea rated it really liked it.
This books present the life of the sister of Freud Adolfina and her views upon those times of despair. I think that the book is rather dark and filled with negative emotions, but during those circumstances I would have felt the same way. It is a good read, but we can't really know what part of it is fiction and what is real, although I understand that Goce studied her life in detail. It is worth your time if you can realize that a book is more than happy things, adventure and joy ,you have also This books present the life of the sister of Freud Adolfina and her views upon those times of despair.
It is worth your time if you can realize that a book is more than happy things, adventure and joy ,you have also to be aware of the cruel reality of mankind. Mar 16, Annette rated it liked it Shelves: historical-fictions , austrian-heritage. But the problem is the pace of the story, some parts move the story at a good pace, and some parts especially the ones involving feelings move at a very slow pace. Jul 27, Kristi White rated it liked it.
In that way, this book did not disappoint. The author provides a clear image of life for a woman in Vienna in the early s. The beginning of the story is compelling as we get to know Freud's sister, Adolfina. But then it slows to a slogging pace. I had to force myself to continue through the second half. There are moments of clarity, especially in her relationship with her brother, but overall the book was burdensome to get through. My expectations were different, but in the end I liked that it went in a totally different direction than expected.
I had the same feelings while reading it as i had while reading Drakulic's Frida or Marquez's One hundreds years of solitude. I like that it's almost autobiographical about a celebrity or personality, and even more about the woman's side of living and life at the beginning of the 20th century, and that it can be compared with today as it is the same. Some battles are eternal. The th My expectations were different, but in the end I liked that it went in a totally different direction than expected.
The thing i don't like is the ending. That ending didn't gave me the answer what happened to her. Jan 10, Slymandra rated it liked it Shelves: read-in-english , owned , around-the-world. I feel like Adolfina's life was just a pretext to focus on different themes: feminism at the end of the 19th century, the evolution of psychiatric care, maternity, friendship Overall the narrative structure was a little off, but the book was interesting enough. Jan 10, Maud reading the world challenge rated it liked it Shelves: tbr , europe , owned. The author uses her life as a pretext to focus on various subjects such as feminism at that time or the evolution in the treatment of mental sickness.
It was a little too reflective for my taste, almost like a non-fiction that wouldn't say its name. Aug 03, Arlin R Davis rated it it was ok. Really wanted to love this book. Terrific premise but poor writing led to me putting it down before reaching the halfway mark. Apr 12, Laurie rated it it was ok. Very dark and depressing. Jul 22, Mila Damyanoska rated it it was amazing.
Brilliant master piece, which deserved all the book nominations and awards it has gotten so far. Sep 13, Nadine Anderson rated it liked it. I enjoyed the first half of this novel and thought it was fantastic, but found the second half a total slog to get through. Dec 17, Alina Maria Ciobanu rated it liked it. A sad, sad book, the fictionalized account of Adolfine Freud's search for the meaning of life. Aug 28, Kristin rated it really liked it Shelves: atw The novel starts off seemingly normal as normal as it can be when the setting is Nazi-controlled Austria and the protagonist is an elderly Jewish woman , but when the timeline is shifted back we seem to be living more in the protagonist's head than in the physical world.
The writing seems to shift between being darkly poetical with an unfortunate amount of repetition and being purely philosophical.
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