A fluidly narrated, briskly paced novel.
Whets one's appetite for even more Zweig.
The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig fled Europe when the Nazis took power and eventually killed himself. His life and work were an inspiration for Wes Anderson's deceptively whimsical "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
Translation from German ( the English prose is well done) set in 1920's Austria. The novel shows a dichotomy between the poor and rich of the time. The narrative is very well done and for a short novel the characterization is well conceived. A well done story. Worth reading.
The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig is a long novella. Divided into two parts, the first concerns the post office girl and her introduction to the life of the idle rich at the invitation of her wealthy aunt and uncle who are staying at a luxurious Swiss resort hotel. The second part sees the post office girl return to her poor village and small post office. She becomes extremely embittered.
The novella does a pretty good job of giving us a bird's eye view of this girl's life. I'm not sure that we really get to "know" her, though. I'm also not convinced that she would have become morbidly embittered, as she does. Zweig seems, to me, to have gone to an extreme motivated by very little. Still, a very worthwhile read. The translation was good in that it read well. (I have no idea how faithful it was to the German. )
Reading this book is the perfect antidote to any La-Boheme-style romanticization of poverty. It reveals the ugliness, both physical and spiritual, that comes from constant want. It is shocking and yet, sadly, recognizable and relevant. Electrifying read about post WWI Germany.
Full review at Indextrious Reader http://indextrious.blogspot.ca/2009/01/zweigs-post-office-girl.html
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