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review 2017-12-13 21:39
The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
The Post-Office Girl (New York Review Books Classics) - Stefan Zweig

This is an odd novel, which makes sense, since it was left unfinished at the author’s death. It is a blistering look at economic inequality, set in Austria after WWI and examined through the stories of characters whose circumstances appear to prevent them from ever getting ahead.

Christine is a young woman who was born middle class, but has lived a life of drudgery since her teenage years, when her family lost both money and menfolk to the war. Out of the blue, a rich American aunt invites her to spend two weeks in a Swiss resort, where she flourishes. But on returning home, she is left hating her working-class life, and soon meets a disaffected war veteran who, through many long speeches, provides the intellectual basis for her discontent.

The first half of the book was a lot of fun to read; after an initial slow start, I was quickly absorbed by the story and eager to learn what would happen next. The second half is interesting and brings Zweig’s themes to the forefront, though it is much darker. The end is ambiguous, leaving the characters’ fates up in the air. It is well-written and engaging throughout. The characters feel three-dimensional and realistic, though I wondered in the second half whether Christine is representative of the way an actual Austrian woman in the 1920s would have thought, or only the way a man at the time would have envisioned one (to her, even an active decision to have sex is necessarily an act of submission, and she claims that as a woman she can’t undertake bold action herself, though she can do anything if following her man). And there are a few rough edges and loose ends: I wondered what Christine could have talked about to the moneyed international jet set, which she does constantly and with great animation; without TV or Internet, and without revealing any details of her life, they seem entirely without common ground. I also wondered why she never thought about following up on

(view spoiler)

the older man who was interested in marrying her; she may not have realized that, but he stood by her and invited her to visit his castle,

(spoiler show)

which she for some reason never considered as an option later.

But at any rate, this is a short novel and a very engaging read. It moves fairly quickly and the translation is excellent. A pleasant surprise. 

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review 2017-06-24 14:49
The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
The Post-Office Girl (New York Review Books Classics) - Stefan Zweig

“Happiness can reach a pitch so great that any further happiness can’t be felt. Pain, despair, humiliation, disgust, and gear are no different.”

What a beautifully dark and heart-wrenching tale this was! Like other Stefan Zweig novels that i have read even this had a strange impact on me. I felt restless while reading this. Neither i could continue reading nor could I stop. I loved the way how he forces his readers to get involved with his characters and their story even if they don’t want to which is evident in his writing he stresses every word, every sentence till the reader gets the hang of it.


Christine a simple girl working in a post office in a small village is ignorant of any kind of luxuries that exists in life till she receives a letter from her aunt and uncle to join them in Swiss Alpine resort to give them company for a while. But the moment Christine steps in her new life her old self is dead instantly. It becomes difficult for Christine to be the same old person that she was even after returning from her abrupt vacation and that’s when her life becomes a living hell. She feels caged. Neither she could fit into her current life nor could she get out. She feels a constant embarrassment to lead her life. Her every thought, her every move was heart breaking to read. But the curiosity of what step Christine takes next kept me glued to this story as it was unpredictable. And then she meets Ferdinand, a war veteran who is as unhappy with his life and the society as Christine is and somehow their coming together disturbs both their lives entirely. Although the ending is abrupt yet I couldn’t have asked for any better ending than that because personally i was not prepared for a closed ending as I didn’t wanted to know what Ferdinand and Christine ended up doing together.


Must say I love this author and I am sure of reading all his works, essays, short stories, novellas and anything that he has ever written. His prose is like poetry to me.

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review 2017-05-05 04:48
“...no guilt is forgotten so long as the conscience still knows of it.”
Beware of Pity - Stefan Zweig,Phyllis Blewitt,Trevor Blewitt

‘Beware of Pity’ by Stefan Zweig is a psychological depiction of Lieutenant Anton Hofmiller . The only mistake he does is when he asks Edith Kekesfalva, a crippled girl for a dance ‘Unknowingly’. This actually turns into a major blunder and ruins his and the girl’s entire life. Well, on the other hand he could have just forgotten the whole thing as mere oversight but he makes sure not to and lets it grow. He keeps going back to her in one way or the other and he keeps repeating himself, it’s just out of pity.
It’s a pity that Hofmiller felt only sympathy for Edith and not love. When a man comes to spend time with a woman once in a while that can be considered as pity but when he visiting her becomes a regular affair it doesn’t stay just that but turns to something more, may be compassion or love. But Hofmiller was not ready to accept this fact, he kept suppressing his feelings because he was narrow-minded, he could not accept the fact that he could love a crippled woman. He was afraid that people would laugh at him. If only he didn’t care for the society, if only he was capable of loving Edith like she did but he forces himself not to.


Stefan Zweig has a way with words I mean a bizarre way! Even if the readers want to read this book as just another novel they cannot he makes the whole thing grow on them. He repeats the phrases again and again to have an effect on them so that the readers become helpless hence yield to his words and gets involved with the book. So, yes! This book had a strange effect on me too. While reading it made me edgy, restless also at some point i felt emotionally drained and i just had to stop reading it, to bring myself back to normal. And I love it when mere words overpower me. So I surrender to Mr Zweig, his words and now I am his greatest fan and will be reading all his books.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-10-24 08:35
Es geht weiter
Holly. Die gestohlenen Tagebücher: März - Band 2 - Erich Maria Remarque;Hans Fallada;Stefan Zweig;Lion Feuchtwanger;Johannes R. Becher;Vicki Baum;Leonhard Frank;Ernst Glaeser;Edlef Köppen;Rosa Luxemburg;Anna Seghers;Georg Trakl;Kurt Tucholsky;Friedrich Wolf In Band 2 gehts weiter mit Holly einer Zeitschrift. Wir bekommen wieder einen Einblick von den einige Redakteure dieser Zeitschrift. Immernoch gibt es keine Spur von Annika Stassen, einen kurzen Rückblick bekommen wir von ihrem Unfall der schon was länger zurück liegt. In diesem Band findet auch ein Tot statt und es werden ihre Tagebücher mitgenommen. Wie im ersten Band wird hier wieder mit Tagen geschrieben, dieses mal spielt sich alles im Monat März ab. Es ist nicht so schön, dass bei jedem Kapitelabsatz der Charakter gewechselt wird, da kommt man schnell durcheinander, welche Sicht man nun hat. Was ich mich bis jetzt immer frage, was hat es mit dieser Kamera aufsicht. Ansonsten ist das Buch ganz gut geschrieben und war etwas besser als Band 1.
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text 2016-04-10 18:35
#TBRTakedown 3.5 day 3
Schachnovelle - Stefan Zweig

So this is the final day of #TBRTakedown! I made it through 3 books from my tbr, which is more than I had hoped for.

First, I finished Stormfront by Jim Butcher. I had only 80 pages left and this was a quick read. Suffice to say, I ordered book 2 right away.

Yesterday I read Danton's Death, a play by Georg Büchner. I wasn't blown away, but it was interesting to see what Büchner made of the subject, considering he was a revolutionary himself.


Today I made my way through Chess Story by Stefan Zweig. I was expecting a lot from it, having heard great things about this short novella. What's more, I adore Zweig's writing.

I'mso glad I finally read this. It deserves all the praise it gets - go read it.


I'll dip my toe into Alberto Manguel's A History of Reading next. So far, I've read 130 pages during the last months (!), despite it being very interesting. It must be due to its size: I own the illustrated hardcover edition, which is a bit hard to handle.


So the readathon comes to an end and I feel quite successful. I hope you had a great weekend. Which books did you read that you can recommend? I'd love to read your recommendations!

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