Letter from an unknown woman by Stefan Zweig

Letter from an unkown women Zweig

Letter from an Unkown by Stefan Zweig

Translator – Anthea Bell

Original title – Brief einer Unbekannten

Source – library

Well I have reviewed review a Zweig before the post office girl ,I really enjoyed that book and wonder why it had taken three years to review another book by him I did read a personnel copy of Journey into the past but as usual i was rather over ambitious in my reading and quite slow in my reviewing so my review of that will be up at some point probably later in year when German lit month runs round again any way to this book which is a new collection of one long novella and three short novellas / short stories any way the all have female as a main character or narrator I think that is the main connection between them .Also love in its many forms links them .

I have taken a fifth candle over to the table where I am writing to you now .For U cannot be alone with my dead child without weeping my heart out ,and to whom am I speak, in this terrible hour if not to you ,who were and are everything to me ?

Part of the letter from the unknown woman .

Letter from an unkown woman is the main story in the book and the main one I am going to mentions as of the four piece in this book it struck me as the strongest in both Narrative and Plot .The story revolves around a letter that has been sent to a famous writer .A thirteen page letter from this women is a life story a young girl has a crush a famous writer ,she then grows works in a shop  ,yet over time ,this is actually his neighbour but he has never noticed her ,sad and love that has gone unreturned ,but then there is a meal and something else happens .Other stories see a women met a man she was once head or heels in love with but he has change since she last saw him into a total bore .

My dear Ellen,

I know you will be surprised to receive a letter from me after so long ; it must be five or perhaps even six years since I last wrote to you .I believe that then it was a letter of congratulations on your youngest daughters marriage .This time the occasion is not so festive ,and perhaps my need to confide the details of a strange encounter to you ,

A women tells her friend of meeting some one she once loved in The debt paid late .

These like the other books I’ve read by Stefan Zweig show the strength of his female voice I think of all the male writers I ve ever read Zweig’s female voice seems to be the best I ve read ,never sure if part of it is in my head I always have a fixed view of his women a sort mix of merchant ivory” room with a view “characters mixed with the females from Gustav Klimt’s paintings but any way it works for me .He is also very much of that age of looking at relationship and love the follow on from the like of Freud analysis in fiction what make females tick is very much his think ,also class which at the time he wrote still means a lot .I also  think ,Like in  a recent discussion with Tony about another prolific writer Llosa(I know he is modern and latin american but he writes a lot of good books ) ,Zweig is a master of good writing ,steady  maybe not spectacular .I know in some places his writing has been discussed as overrated but unfortunately I am in the other camp that feels he is an important writer that needs to be kept in the public eye .Ok he may not be a Porsche (But we all want a 911 as a kid ,well I did as they are flash and fast ,but on the whole unpractical for everyday life ,sorry to any readers that on one ) no Zweig is an AUDI( reliable, dependable and a car that goes past and you say I like one of them ) so I hope you get my meaning he is a writer that no matter which book it is a short story ,novella or novel you seem to finish feeling you’ve been in the hand of a master .

Have you a favourite book by Him ?

8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 17:18:52

    This was the first Zweig I read and like you I thought the title story was the strongest and quite heartbreaking. He is a lovely writer but I think best taken in small doses – I have only read two books of his so far, but have a few on Mount TBR!


  2. 1streading
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 19:15:40

    Haven’t read any Zweig in a while. I agree he reliable rather than spectacular but I love the way he often builds towards an emotional intensity bordering on desperation.


  3. farmlanebooks
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 20:12:42

    I’ve only read Chess and was very impressed by it. I’m not sure why I haven’t read any of his others yet – I really should!


  4. Brian Joseph
    Jun 19, 2013 @ 08:33:04

    I have not read Zweig but have heard good things about him. Interesting point about writing in a female voice. There are some that say that male writers really cannot do that but I think that some do a very good job of it. It sounds as if Zweig is one of them.


  5. The Little Reader Library
    Jun 20, 2013 @ 16:19:05

    I have read a few of Zweig’s works so far and loved them all. I agree with your last sentence, he really does write well. I haven’t read this one and knew little about it so thank you for reviewing it. My favourite is The Post Office Girl but I liked Journey into the Past too. I have Chess here to read soon.


  6. Emma
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 12:55:51

    I have read this one and seen a staged version of it. It was tremendous.
    I loved Journey into the Past. (There are billets on my blog if you’re interested)


  7. Violet
    Jun 22, 2013 @ 22:36:11

    Using cars as a metaphor for the type of writing is interesting: I prefer the Audi style too. I’ve only read Post Office Girl, but I liked it very much and want to read more by Zweig. I agree with you about him being good at writing in a female voice, although as I read it in English I wonder how much of that excellence is due to Anthea Bell’s translation. It’s very frustrating to only have one language and never be able to experience how the original narrative reads. Oh well, maybe I’ll speak seven languages in another life.


  8. Trackback: Journey into the past by Stefan Zweig | Winstonsdad's Blog

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June 2013


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