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Just the title (even without your review) has me thinking. Your review and the description of the novel, really has me thinking! I suppose that is what good books are supposed to do. Thanks for an insightful review and for introducing us to a read that will have to go on my TBR pile.

Dorothy W.

How interesting! It's good to know that Zweig's work shows some similarities and you can see similar themes running through the two books. I really enjoyed The Post-Office Girl and would love to read more of his work.


Kathleen--I think it was the cover that first caught my attention which is a detail from a painting by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, whose work I really like. This is one of those books I wanted to get around to reading and I'm glad I finally did. I feel like I didn't really do the book justice--it's one of those books that's sort of hard to talk about but there's so much to say!
Dorothy--I really like his work and I think this is one of the best books I've read all year. I'm not sure I ever really got around to explaining what the similarities between the books are--but it's sort of that disillusionment people feel with their lives at times. Well, there's more to it than that, but if you started reading the book I am sure you would know what I mean. I very much recommend this one if you come across it!


I agree--the title and the cover of this book are certainly eye-catching. I always love books with a psychological insight into characters--although it sounds like this book is so emotionally powerful that I may need to read it on a very bright spring day.


I read that introduction by Acocella (in a collected volume of her work) and thought it sounded so interesting (she is just brilliant, isn't she?). I loved your review here and now want to read more Zweig myself. Funnily enough, the only thing I've read by him is his biography of Marie Antoinette (which was good but huge, and not a fast read). Thank you so much for the link and the lovely comment - I do appreciate it!

Jackie (Farm Lane Books)

I haven't heard of the book or the author before, but after reading your review I am very intrigued. I am going to try to get my hands on a copy as it sounds really thought provoking.


Thanks for this post, Danielle. I read Zweig's "Journey into the Past" earlier this year, and really enjoyed it. I've got "Chess" and "The Post Office Girl" in my TBR, so I think I'll have to dig them out very soon.


At first glance I thought this book wouldn't appeal to me but you drew me in Danielle.


Maire--It's not so much dark as very heavy, though a spring reading of it might not be a bad thing at all! I like books that focus on characters and their inner lives, too.
Litlove--I had your post in mind as I was reading. After the discussion the Slaves had about his other book, this one made so much sense, though I don't think I conveyed it at all well here. And I wonder what collection by Joan Acocella you have. Just essays on various authors/novels? She really is very good and I enjoyed what she had to say about the novel. I'm going to have to look her up now. That's criticism I can get into. I bet his fiction is definitely easier going than his biographies. I have this feeling they might be in the dry side, though I could be wrong!
Jackie--You might suggest one of his works for your bookclub--his books have lots to think about and I think would generate a good discussion. In any case I recommend him--I really liked both books I read and now will look for more. I'm not sure where I came across him--it might have been when I bought this book in a used bookstore.
Kimbofo--I think more of his works are being reissued in the UK and now I want to get my hands on them. I read the Post Office Girl earlier in the year and thought it was excellent, though also a little bleak as well (maybe more so than this one?). I think The Chess Story was published by NYRB here in the US (like this one and the Post Office Girl), but otherwise I have to look for UK editions of the rest of his books.
Darlene--Although it is on the heavy, serious side, it's so well done it's hard not to like it. I think you might actually get caught up in the characters, like I did.

The Literary Stew

I read this earlier this year and yes it was distressing. I felt the main character's burden throughout the novel. I preferred the Post-Office Girl but I still consider Zweig a brilliant writer.


Literary Stew--The Post Office Girl does have a more open end, doesn't it. I liked them both, but for some reason Beware of Pity really made an impression on me. He's very good in any case and I want to read more.

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