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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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review 2016-04-07 11:00
A Perseverant Advocate of Peace: Romain Rolland by Stefan Zweig
Romain Rolland - Stephan Zweig
Romain Rolland (German Edition) - Stefan Zweig

The Great War of 1914-18 had been raging in Europe and other parts of the world for over a year, when in December 1915 the little known French writer Romain Rolland was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature “as a tribute to the lofty idealism of his literary production and to the sympathy and love of truth with which he has described different types of human beings”. In reality, he may have been chosen because in his work he advocated peace and stood up against warmongers in his own as well as other countries. Just a few years later, in 1921, the by then already famous Austrian writer Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) portrayed the Nobel Prize laureate who was also his friend in the book Romain Rolland. The Man and His Work. But the biography isn’t a usual one because Stefan Zweig focuses on the artistic mission or rather vocation that his gifted friend felt in him from an early age and that he was determined to live although it meant sacrifice and even exile for a while.


Born into a bourgeois family in the small town of Clamecy, Nièvre, France, in 1866 Romain Rolland’s first acquaintance with the arts is with music that will always remain an integral part of his life. In school he also discovers his great love for literature and he makes friends with the writer-to-be Paul Claudel. Then he moves on to the École Normale to study History. There he makes friends with other important writers-to-be, namely André Suarès and Charles Peguy. After graduation fate has it that he is offered a two-year grant to further his studies in Rome and write his doctoral thesis. The experience is a revelation to him, not least because he meets a friend of Friedrich Nietzsche and Richard Wagner, Malwida von Meysenbug, who encourages him to go his way. Back in Paris Romain Rolland begins to teach Music History in different high schools and finally at Sorbonne University. At this time his writings are still closely linked to his work, but soon he makes first attempts at plays.


Around 1900 Roman Rolland and a group of friends found the literary magazine Cahiers de la Quinzaine. Moreover, they set out to modernise French theatre. Romain Rolland writes the seminal essay Theatre of the People (1903) and the first of a whole cycle of ambitious, though at the time unsuccessful plays. Then he turns to a cycle of biographies of the great men of history. Beethoven the Creator (1903), Michelangelo (1907), Handel (1910), and Tolstoy (1911) are the first to appear almost unnoticed by the public. In the early 1900s the author also begins to work on his most famous novel series in ten volumes surrounding a German musician in France, namely Jean-Christophe. The English edition is usually published in three volumes, namely Volume I – Jean-Christophe: Dawn, Morning, Youth, Revolt (1904/05), Volume II –  Jean-Christophe in Paris: The Market Place, Antoinette, The House (1908), and Volume III – Journey’s End: Love and Friendship, The Burning Bush, The New Dawn (1910-12). Immediately afterwards he writes the comic novel Colas Breugnon, but in summer 1914 the war breaks out and it can only be published in 1919. The author is in Switzerland at the time and decides to stay there in exile because he doesn’t want to be forced into line with French politics. He is against war and wants to work for peace although thanks to censure writings like his anti-war manifesto Above the Battle (1915) and his pacifistic articles later assembled in The Forerunners (1919) aren’t reprinted in France or other war-faring countries. In 1915 the Swedish Academy of Sciences awards him the Nobel Prize in Literature. And he continues to write. By 1921, when Stefan Zweig brings out his biography of Romain Rolland, the tragicomic play Liluli, the novel Clerambault. The Story of an Independent Spirit During the War (1920), and the idyllic novella Pierre and Luce (1920) have been published. By 1929, when a new edition of the biography appears with an addition to the final chapter titled Envoy also the first volumes of the novel series The Soul Enchanted (1922-1933) and a biography of Mahatma Gandhi (1924) have appeared.  More biographical essays, plays and novels followed.


Nota bene:

Since Stefan Zweig committed suicide in 1942, all original German editions of his work are in the public domain. A digital edition of an English translation of Romain Rolland. The Man and his Work is available on Project Gutenberg … like many of the works of Romain Rolland.



Although renowned for his fictionalised biographies of great historical figures – like the one of Romain Rolland that I just presented – and for his autobiography The World of Yesterday, Stefan Zweig was also a highly celebrated writer of fiction, especially novellas. To get an idea, I invite you to read my short review of Letter from an Unknown Woman posted here on Lagraziana’s Kalliopeion earlier this year and my long  review of Twenty-four Hours in the Life of a Woman on my main book blog Edith’s Miscellany.

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