Spring and No Flowers is a moving narrative-both individual and universal in its appeal. I have sometimes wondered what could have provoked this wholly premature, abstract recognition of madness. The ugly sister had finally triumphed over the fair princess. The grown-ups would under no circumstances make concessions, or side with me. It is a unique story, full of naive poignancy, told with a poetic simplicity which helps us have a better understanding of how events were seen and interpreted by a young person struggling with the many diverse problems of growing up.
I was usually not given to sitting still. Her proud disregard for facts, I admired her like a beautiful poem, a perfect sculpture. It was guerrilla warfare, which solved no problems, but allowed at least some measure of self-respect. So was an appeal for understanding and sympathy. Eventually Aunt Paula closed the door of the wardrobe. Just opposite our house was a large green lawn, surrounded by birch trees.
She relives this time of great social and political upheaval, depicting it through the eyes of a childhood as she passes from infancy to adolescence. Grandmother, hostile to independent actions and probably jealous in her youth there had been no such opportunities for young unmarried girls immediately forbade it. . A crown cut from gold paper was always in my desk drawer, together with an old wooden spoon I had elaborately decorated with coloured pencil drawings. But every night the dream returned.
Talk was something I had not yet fully mastered. I am not at all sure what happened. Vienna had always been thoughtlessly anti-Semitic but, providing the money was right, and the girl converted to Christianity, the marriage could take place. She later complained, that there had not been a single dance, a single ball, she enjoyed, because she had to spend all her time worrying about her sister. When great-grandmother her name seems to have been Theresa was eighteen years old, her own mother died and she was sent to stay with relatives in Vienna. We lived at its southern edge in a rambling house with a large garden. If the gift came from Grandmother, Mama or one of their women friends, I had to kiss their hand.
The way we often help to create a situation we most fear by our efforts to prevent it. I soon began to realize that fact and fiction were not basically different. But whenever I was queen, I would sit perfectly still, sometimes for hours. A child, I was told, was not entitled to have a will of its own, a child did not want things but asked for them - politely. There was a particular type of recognition, guilty recognition.
I clearly remember standing there, with my back to the room, Aunt Paula no longer within my vision, the top of my head just touching the door handle. I remember that there was talk that he too had been in the army and that he had left because of gambling debts. She relives this time of great social and political upheaval, depicting it through the eyes of a childhood as she passes from infancy to adolescence. My mother was the dominant figure of my childhood, not emotionally, but factually. I was to be restricted, prevented from causing more trouble. It is a moving narrative, individual but, at the same time, universal in its appeal. Though I had already developed considerable talent for hearing things I was not supposed to hear, this particular fact would certainly have been beyond my comprehension.
In their joint opinion there was no need for me to play with other children, or to be taken to a park. Neither of incidents, people, impressions or emotions. A frozen face, blank eyes. On a clear day one could see mountain ranges from the first floor windows at the back of the house. One Christmas I had been given a little red-lacquered desk with a chair to match. In fact here too, I knew much less than I thought.
It is a unique story, full of naïve poignancy, told with a poetic simplicity which helps us have a better understanding of how? I had a full and absolute comprehension of the meaning of madness. She relives this time of great social and political upheaval, depicting it through the eyes of a childhood as she passes from infancy to adolescence. It reassured me, that once I was old enough, I would really marry my Grandfather. The book gives us an insight into child psychology and how children came to terms with fear, horror, and violence, while also bearing the scars of the trauma throughout their lives. Nobody, not even Grandfather, thought for a moment, that Mama might need a chaperon too. I do not remember Aunt Paula except as a smiling figure moving through my dream in a circle of sunlight. Grandmother often referred to the fact that she had borne two children within thirteen months as one of the greatest hardships of her life.