The burial of his father and the consequent ""dismemberment"" of the family occasions this first person recall of the early years in a montage of both graphic and symbolic images and impressions. While the people (particularly a retiring father and dominating mother) and paraphernalia of childhood pass in review, erotic experiences eventually overwhelm all others. There is his innocently incestuous initiation with his sister Margit, who dies; the failure of a later sexual encounter with their governess; the family's emigration to England and a short quixotic friendship there; and finally his stay in Prague for a year in which to test or prove himself. Increasingly there is his disturbing knowledge of the umbilical cord that binds and strangles before the final cleavage with childhood at the close.... In translation from the German, by Christopher Levenson, the free form prose is heavy, swollen with words and filled with unpleasant psychosexual details so that the leavetaking, from all points of departure, is unregretted.