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DARK SPRING by Unica Zurn


by Unica Zurn & translated by Caroline Rupprecht

Pub Date: July 1st, 2000
ISBN: 1-878972-30-8

Preadolescent sexuality merges with depressive fantasy—to devastating (if ineffably morbid) effect in this once-notorious novel by a German writer and artist (1916–70) who, like this novel’s young protagonist, took her own life shortly after its (1967) publication. She’s a nameless suburban girl who’s provoked, by her slovenly mother’s indifference, her beloved father’s long absences from home, and her own claustrophobic self-absorption, into masturbatory daydreams and tentative baby steps toward adult sexual expression. The story’s (expertly caught) tone and rhythm are indeed hypnotic (though one nowhere senses the complexity attributed to it by translator Rupprecht’s labored introduction), and Zürn caps it with a marvelously bleak, brisk final scene. Unusual and memorable fiction.