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The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig

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A casual introduction, a challenge to a simple game of chess, a lovers' reunion, a meaningless infidelity: from such small seeds Zweig brings forth five startlingly tense tales-meditations on the fragility of love, the limits of obsession, the combustibility of secrets and betrayal. To read anything by Zweig is to risk addiction; in this collection the power of his writing A casual introduction, a challenge to a simple game of chess, a lovers' reunion, a meaningless infidelity: from such small seeds Zweig brings forth five startlingly tense tales-meditations on the fragility of love, the limits of obsession, the combustibility of secrets and betrayal. To read anything by Zweig is to risk addiction; in this collection the power of his writing-which, with its unabashed intensity and narrative drive, made him one of the bestselling and most acclaimed authors in the world-is clear and irresistible. Each of these stories is a bolt of experience, unforgettable and unique.


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A casual introduction, a challenge to a simple game of chess, a lovers' reunion, a meaningless infidelity: from such small seeds Zweig brings forth five startlingly tense tales-meditations on the fragility of love, the limits of obsession, the combustibility of secrets and betrayal. To read anything by Zweig is to risk addiction; in this collection the power of his writing A casual introduction, a challenge to a simple game of chess, a lovers' reunion, a meaningless infidelity: from such small seeds Zweig brings forth five startlingly tense tales-meditations on the fragility of love, the limits of obsession, the combustibility of secrets and betrayal. To read anything by Zweig is to risk addiction; in this collection the power of his writing-which, with its unabashed intensity and narrative drive, made him one of the bestselling and most acclaimed authors in the world-is clear and irresistible. Each of these stories is a bolt of experience, unforgettable and unique.

30 review for The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    An interesting collection of 5 novellas, two of which I had read previously. In both cases, this second reading had been helpful in opening up Zweig's methods for me. As I read this collection I came to see, more and more, the manner in which he builds tension casually in his tales, through simple variations on everyday actions. A person may step away for a moment from a stifling situation, taking a refreshing or necessary break that somehow turns his/her life upside down and threatens their ent An interesting collection of 5 novellas, two of which I had read previously. In both cases, this second reading had been helpful in opening up Zweig's methods for me. As I read this collection I came to see, more and more, the manner in which he builds tension casually in his tales, through simple variations on everyday actions. A person may step away for a moment from a stifling situation, taking a refreshing or necessary break that somehow turns his/her life upside down and threatens their entire future. Of the five novellas only one, "Journey into the Past." did not create that tension for me and two of the ones that are new to me, "Fear" and "Confusion", both did it quite effectively. The others are "A Chess Story," as effective as when first read, and "A Burning Secret," somehow better than when I first encountered it. Another thing I have learned from this collection is to have patience, to allow the writer to build up his characters and setting before providing the "meat" I am looking for. In this respect, perhaps I am a modern person/reader, wanting everything too quickly. The further removed I am from these stories, the more I realize that the tension I felt and found so effective simply would not have existed without that (seemingly) too slow build-up. So perhaps I am learning as a reader too. I do recommend this book to those who enjoy Zweig and others who may be looking for a new author to try. A copy of this book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    There are five novellas in this collection: A Burning Secret, A Chess Story, Fear, Confusion and Journey into the Past. Most of these stories were written in the early part of the twentieth century – 1900 – 1920’s – and they have a real sense of a past world about them. However, what makes these novella’s still stand, is that the emotions felt by people don’t really change, whatever era they are written in. These stories encompass a whole range of feelings that we can all understand – ranging fr There are five novellas in this collection: A Burning Secret, A Chess Story, Fear, Confusion and Journey into the Past. Most of these stories were written in the early part of the twentieth century – 1900 – 1920’s – and they have a real sense of a past world about them. However, what makes these novella’s still stand, is that the emotions felt by people don’t really change, whatever era they are written in. These stories encompass a whole range of feelings that we can all understand – ranging from adult secrets, obsession, jealousy, fear, longing, loss, pain and love… Along the way, a boy grows up, a cruise ship sees a dramatic chess game, a married woman fears discovery after a brief affair, we read of forbidden love and of a romance separated by time and war. . I am pleased his writing has been re-discovered in recent years and it is easy to see why he was so popular. Zweig wrote beautifully – he is often criticised for being pedestrian, but what he does is actually tell a story and tell it well

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sam Quixote

    This book collects five of Stefan Zweig’s novellas: Chess, Fear, Confusion, Journey Into The Past and Burning Secret. I became a Zweig fan after first reading Chess a few years ago – little did I realise that that was his only good book and the rest of his output is very poor! I am a Zweig fan no longer. Fear and Confusion are tied as the worst novellas here. Fear is about an upper-middle class woman called Irene who has an affair with a young piano teacher and is blackmailed by her lover’s ex t This book collects five of Stefan Zweig’s novellas: Chess, Fear, Confusion, Journey Into The Past and Burning Secret. I became a Zweig fan after first reading Chess a few years ago – little did I realise that that was his only good book and the rest of his output is very poor! I am a Zweig fan no longer. Fear and Confusion are tied as the worst novellas here. Fear is about an upper-middle class woman called Irene who has an affair with a young piano teacher and is blackmailed by her lover’s ex to keep quiet about it. The guilt drives Irene mad, the point of the story being how suffering in silence rather than being caught and punished is worse, but the reveal at the end of what it was all about is plain ridiculous. Melodramatic piffle. Confusion is about a university student who doesn’t realise he’s gay for his teacher. They write a book about Elizabethan theatre and then the teacher disappears. What does it mean?! Anyone with a brain will know but our narrator is, for all his supposed education, a dumbass. This was the longest novella in the book and it was insufferable. Hardly anything happens and the ending isn’t just obvious, it’s underwhelming and boring too. Like Fear, Confusion is contrived horseshit through and through. Burning Secret is only slightly better than the previous two with a similar approach of having a naive narrator but at least this one is 12 years old and not some unconvincingly innocent twenty-something! The kid and his single mother go to a holiday resort where a raffish fellow called the Baron decides to score with his hot mama. The kid at first thinks the Baron’s his buddy but slowly realises he’s using him to get into his mommy’s pants so he decides to get his own back by being the ultimate cockblock! It’s such a dreary story full of the kind of observations you wonder who they’re there for – too simple for grown-up readers and there aren’t going to be kids reading this! I didn’t dislike Journey Into the Past much but I didn’t like it either. It’s about a man and woman reunited years after having an affair who try to rekindle that passion. It’s a well-observed psychological romance with overtones of the impending war as the Nazis rise to power though on the whole it still feels slight, unremarkable, and, like all things Zweig, strangely unmoving despite the emphasis on emotion. Chess remains the best thing of Zweig’s I’ve read. I’ve read it twice since 2010 and still really like it. It’s about the world chess champion being challenged – and beaten – by a mysterious opponent nobody has ever heard of. Zweig’s story returns back to the horrors of fascist Germany, taking the reader into a Gestapo holding cell where the mystery man is interrogated for months. Chilling and compelling, Chess is a brilliant novella and the only one in the collection I’d say is worth checking out. Zweig is a fine prose stylist who wrote beautiful sentences but his penchant for melodrama and literary posturing leads too many times to overwrought silliness in his often quite bare narratives. The effect of which leads to some surprisingly empty stories lacking the emotional impact he describes his characters going through that the reader can’t feel. This isn’t a worthwhile collection to get – I’d recommend interested readers pick up Chess instead. It’s not only better but far shorter than wading through the other four novellas of sludge.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Barrow Wilfong

    This particular review is only of the story Confusion. I have reviewed the previous stories separately. Confusion is about a young man who becomes the student to a professor at the university he attends. The professor's expertise lies in Shakespeare's works. The student becomes obsessed with this professor and his work. Finally he rents a room in the same house the professor and his wife are living. Things are strange. The wife is emotionally distant and sardonic. The professor is in turns, kind a This particular review is only of the story Confusion. I have reviewed the previous stories separately. Confusion is about a young man who becomes the student to a professor at the university he attends. The professor's expertise lies in Shakespeare's works. The student becomes obsessed with this professor and his work. Finally he rents a room in the same house the professor and his wife are living. Things are strange. The wife is emotionally distant and sardonic. The professor is in turns, kind and gentle and caustic and cold. This puts the young man in turmoil. He doesn't know why the older man is treating him like this. Also the professor takes to disappearing for a few days, telling no one of his whereabouts. Furthering the mystery, his fellow students and the other professors have become cold toward the student and begun to exclude him from their circles. Nothing is solved until the end, and I won't give it away, just to say, that I find so many things unrealistic and wrong about it.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tsung

    Secrets. We have them, hide them and hedge them. Revelation results in a level of distress which we are not comfortable with. But sometimes even the most impenetrable of defences cannot hide them. Sometimes the secret itself burns the keeper from within, so much so that the only relief is release. Zweig is a master craftsman, building up stories around characters with secrets, dissecting their thoughts and feelings, exposing them in their behaviours and actions. Within each character is a comple Secrets. We have them, hide them and hedge them. Revelation results in a level of distress which we are not comfortable with. But sometimes even the most impenetrable of defences cannot hide them. Sometimes the secret itself burns the keeper from within, so much so that the only relief is release. Zweig is a master craftsman, building up stories around characters with secrets, dissecting their thoughts and feelings, exposing them in their behaviours and actions. Within each character is a complex sea of feelings to navigate. Amidst the internal conflicts and emotional turmoil, there is the universal question: Is this love? Or even what is love? The answer is not so straightforward, especially when it is a forbidden relationship. Compounding the confusion are feelings of guilt and shame, fear and anxiety. Can there be absolution or resolution? Burning Secret This is the bildungsroman of twelve year old Edgar, his coming of age story. The story is simple, but the relationships are not. Because of a previous carnal indiscretion by his father, the relationship between his parents grows cold. Although Edgar may be close to his mother, she is detached and isolated from him. She hides her loneliness and desperation behind a facade. Along comes the predator, the Baron, who beguiles both Edgar and Mama. Soon her defences fall, and she ventures to walk on the wild side. This has deep repercussions on Edgar as he embarks on a stormy emotional journey, from loneliness, to happiness, confusion, frustration, betrayal, anger, desperation, despair and reconciliation. “He had lost all his impatience with life now that he knew how full of promise it was. He felt as if, for the first time, he had seen it as it was, no longer enveloped in the thousand lies of childhood, but naked in its own dangerous beauty. He had never thought that days could be so full of alternating pain and pleasure, and he liked the idea that many such days lay ahead of him, that a whole life was waiting to reveal its secret to him. A first premonition of the rich variety of life had come to him; for the first time he thought he had understood the nature of human beings – they needed each other even when they appeared hostile, and it was very sweet to be loved by them. He was unable to think of anything or anyone with hatred, he did not regret anything, and found a new sense of gratitude even to the Baron, the seducer, his bitterest enemy, because he had opened the door to this world of his first true emotions to him.” If there is one thing to learn from this story, it is that marital relationships (or extra-marital), have the most profound effect on children. A Chess Story Already reviewed in “A Game of Chess and Other Stories”. Fear Irene had it all; a prosperous, professional husband, two children, a comfortable home with servants, a bourgeois lifestyle. Why put it all at risk in an extra-marital affair with a Don Juan she is not even attracted to? She does so and spends all her waking hours in fear. Fear of being discovered. Fear of losing what she had. Guilt each time she faces her husband. The burden is so great that it brings her close to confession, even to suicide. It is compounded by a stalker, a blackmailer, who threatens to shatter her perfect little world in an instant. ”She lay with her eyes closed to relish, at a deeper level, her real life or what it was, and it was now her happiness too. Something still hurt her, deep inside, but it was a promising pain, burning but mild, just as wounds burn when scar tissue is about to close over them forever.” The story is as much about the consequences of infidelity, the burden of guilt as it is about love and forgiveness. Confusion A young protégé tries to make up for his earlier dissolute, misspent youth when an enigmatic professor takes him under his wing. He builds a relationship with his professor, and also with his professor’s wife. He immerses himself so deeply in his academic pursuits, such that he was oblivious to the real pursuit that was going on. (view spoiler)[The secret was not so unexpected or shocking, still I found it very uncomfortable. (hide spoiler)] Journey into the Past Another young protégé with great determination to be a success falls head over heels for his benefactor’s wife. Fate had other ideas and he is dispatched half way around the world to further his career. Although they are separated by thousands of miles and for nine long years, it is an invisible, unbreachable, moral and social wall which keeps them from consummating their love. Still he is haunted by the pleasant memories of their time together. When they finally have their reunion, the great void of distance and time disappears, and everything seemed to be as it was. They are older, but the feelings remain. The world outside is in chaos, but inside, nothing has changed. Dans le vieux parc solitaire et glacé Deux spectres cherchent le passé. In the old park, in ice and snow caught fast Two spectres walk, still searching for the past. This story is beautiful, nostalgic and poignant, a perfect ending for this collection of novellas. Favourite!

  6. 5 out of 5

    tortoise dreams

    A collection of five of Stefan Zweig's thoughtful, emotional, and psychological novellas. Book Review: The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig is a small treasure from the ever brilliant Pushkin Press. This was my introduction to the work of Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) and what a wonderful introduction it was. Five varied novellas from throughout his career: Fear (1910/1920), Burning Secret (1913), Confusion (1927), A Chess Story (1942), and Journey into the Past (1976). A Chess Story (his masterpiec A collection of five of Stefan Zweig's thoughtful, emotional, and psychological novellas. Book Review: The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig is a small treasure from the ever brilliant Pushkin Press. This was my introduction to the work of Stefan Zweig (1881-1942) and what a wonderful introduction it was. Five varied novellas from throughout his career: Fear (1910/1920), Burning Secret (1913), Confusion (1927), A Chess Story (1942), and Journey into the Past (1976). A Chess Story (his masterpiece) and Burning Secret are the best of the bunch, both unique and creative visionary works. Confusion (also known as Confusion of Feelings) is more average, at least to today's eyes, although it is a story with a message. It may have been more meaningful and powerful if I could have read it in 1927. Fear (aka Angst) and Journey into the Past are "smaller" works, each focusing on a narrower point and verging on melodrama. One-note works. In fairness, both do full justice to their vision. Both are stories with a heart and more emotion and feeling is better than less. The novella was Zweig's most effective art form. He made his stories just as long as they needed to be. Even in The Collected Stories not all of the works are "short stories." Zweig's specialty, his chosen subject, is a mix of the romantic (in all senses of the word), emotions, and psychology. What could be called "human nature." He finds the depths in the people he writes about, often considering the many possibilities a particular stress, pressure, or trauma might create. If they venture into the sentimental, so be it. All five works in The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig were ably and excellently translated by Anthea Bell. Although I don't speak German, having translated manuscripts I'm aware of the possible flaws (especially my own) in this secondary art. When reading translated works there are usually a number of "Is that the right word?" moments, indicating some (almost inevitable) communication breakdown between translator and author. There are few, if any at all, of these moments in the sensitive and capable hands of Ms. Bell. This diverse collection gives the reader a quick and valuable introduction to the range of Stefan Zweig's work. All these novellas have stuck with me. [5★]

  7. 5 out of 5

    Patrick

    One of the most wonderful things I've ever ever read. That I ever hope to read. I don't see it on my friends reading lists but it should be for many reason, not the least of which is the spellbindingly virtuosic translation by Anthea Bell. READ IT READ IT READ IT. And if you find this little volume by Pushkin Press, it is a delight to hold and handle. Thank you PV for turning me on to Sweig! I didn't want it to end. One of the most wonderful things I've ever ever read. That I ever hope to read. I don't see it on my friends reading lists but it should be for many reason, not the least of which is the spellbindingly virtuosic translation by Anthea Bell. READ IT READ IT READ IT. And if you find this little volume by Pushkin Press, it is a delight to hold and handle. Thank you PV for turning me on to Sweig! I didn't want it to end.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vishy

    Brilliant collection of novellas! Loved them all!

  9. 4 out of 5

    David

    Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular writers of early twentieth-century Europe. After his books were banned and burned under Hitler and Zweig and his wife escaped to Brazil, where they committed suicide, he fell out of favor and his work essentially disappeared. Thanks to the amazing work of publishers like the New York Review of Books Classics and the Pushkin Press, writers like Zweig have come back to us (and it doesn’t hurt that Wes Anderson was inspired by Zweig to make Grand Budapest Ho Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular writers of early twentieth-century Europe. After his books were banned and burned under Hitler and Zweig and his wife escaped to Brazil, where they committed suicide, he fell out of favor and his work essentially disappeared. Thanks to the amazing work of publishers like the New York Review of Books Classics and the Pushkin Press, writers like Zweig have come back to us (and it doesn’t hurt that Wes Anderson was inspired by Zweig to make Grand Budapest Hotel) and what an amazing rediscovery he offers. Zweig feels like the greatest chronicler of Freud’s Vienna, a world of bourgeois sexual repressions and class tensions. If Ibsen had written novels and short stories set in Mitteleuropa, they might look like this. What it really comes down to, though, is this: Zweig is a pure pleasure to read. Though he explores the same territory of miscommunication and self-deception as modernists like Ford Madox Ford, Zweig’s talents lie less in experimental narrative than in the construction of character and story. I am a slow reader, and I gulp these things down, compulsively. And I don’t want to stop. I’ve bought more books by the man. But this shouldn’t imply these are shallow. Far from it. Zweig gets the depths of humanity and conveys them beautifully. His posthumous novel, The Post-Office Girl, is a powerful, semi-revolutionary novel of class desperation that I highly recommend, but the five novellas offered in this collection have been the truest of reading pleasures, especially "A Chess Story," "Fear" and "Confusion." Much credit must also be given to the brilliant translator Anthea Bell. Plus, the Pushkin hardback volume is simply a joy to hold in your hands and cradle. It just feels like a book, if you know what I mean. I cannot recommend this enough. Welcome back Stefan Zweig.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    Brilliant collection of psychologically intense novellas.

  11. 4 out of 5

    James Lark

    It is hard to explain why Zweig's writing is so powerful when it is so unshowy; none of these novellas 'grabbed' me, but without exception they crept up on me and had me completely engrossed when I was least expecting it. Zweig builds up characters and scenarios with careful detail and economy. He has a fluid approach to narrative perspectives, effortlessly moving between different periods of time or unwrapping stories within stories, which gives these tales surprising depth for their length. Pe It is hard to explain why Zweig's writing is so powerful when it is so unshowy; none of these novellas 'grabbed' me, but without exception they crept up on me and had me completely engrossed when I was least expecting it. Zweig builds up characters and scenarios with careful detail and economy. He has a fluid approach to narrative perspectives, effortlessly moving between different periods of time or unwrapping stories within stories, which gives these tales surprising depth for their length. Perhaps it is for that reason that it is so hard to avoid being sucked into them as he ratchets up the tension, or perhaps it is his clear insight into human nature and the dark shadows he is prepared to delve into. Either way, each of these stories left an impression that continued to resonate days after I finished reading them.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Smith

    Before I started reading the first of Zweig’s novellas — my first experience of his writing — I knew that opinion of his literary talents was distinctly divided. I quickly discovered that I belonged on the side that find it difficult to believe he was so incredibly popular throughout the United States, Europe and South America. (Not Britain, perhaps he simply doesn’t appeal to the British sensibility.) I found his style to be overwrought and repetitive with way too much ‘telling’ and precious li Before I started reading the first of Zweig’s novellas — my first experience of his writing — I knew that opinion of his literary talents was distinctly divided. I quickly discovered that I belonged on the side that find it difficult to believe he was so incredibly popular throughout the United States, Europe and South America. (Not Britain, perhaps he simply doesn’t appeal to the British sensibility.) I found his style to be overwrought and repetitive with way too much ‘telling’ and precious little ‘showing.’ His characters therefore, seem unreal and totally unsympathetic. Critical writer and translator, Michael Hofmann, said, “Zweig just tastes fake. He's the Pepsi of Austrian writing.” I agree.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mario

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. It was an easy read. Like chatting with a loquacious, gossipy, but charming and easy-going acquaintance who could go on and on about his observations and hasty generalisations about people, who, even when the stories begin to cross taboo, maintains a lightness of manner and diction about it that you are soon put at ease in the presence of grave subjects. (I think the author was credited for having inspired the movie the Grand Budapest Hotel. ) The run ons are a joy for the most part. For they rem It was an easy read. Like chatting with a loquacious, gossipy, but charming and easy-going acquaintance who could go on and on about his observations and hasty generalisations about people, who, even when the stories begin to cross taboo, maintains a lightness of manner and diction about it that you are soon put at ease in the presence of grave subjects. (I think the author was credited for having inspired the movie the Grand Budapest Hotel. ) The run ons are a joy for the most part. For they remind me of something about the structure of the German language. These run ons were so laid down as to be charged with momentum that they had the effect of actually transforming the pace of my reading from leisurely to rabid page turning. It's like the way the magnets are configured in a Gauss rifle in order to accelerate projectiles. (That means kudos to the translators. And the physical book is so handsome, too, so kudos to the publisher, Pushkin Press, as well. ) But this structure.. . A novella is indeed a wonderful medium. It bides its moral energy for one hundred pages, only to release everything in one fell stroke of a single paragraph. It evokes something of an exhibition, an artifice, like a spring-charged contraption. A novelty for myself, I realize, when I chanced upon it in these days. (Ah, I see now after writing this bit, I've come to a realization that in pulling all punches until the very last, the novella evokes the structure of German, which does something like this when it places the verbs, arguably the soul of the clause, at the very end of the sentence.) I should mention, there is also an air of sentimentality pervading the text, a nostalgia for the lost glory of Empire Austria. (I had become somewhat acquainted with this mood and tempo, in my reading two or three biographies on Ludwig Wittgenstein; also, in my reading Musil; the theme was so dominant in fact that it could very well be the main protagonist in his "A Man Without Qualities." ) And so its pages are littered with bourgeoisie and odd aristocrats prancing about in their little mansions or summer retreats and five star hotels, well-to-do professionals, a good number of lawyers (I counted eight across the five stories; one, a defense attorney and another, a banker), a professor and a chemist CEO (one lawyer was notably mistaken for a chemist or mathematician), primarily occupied with their extramarital affairs or, on some occasions, less obviously sultry pleasures such as reading serious literature or chess. But even when the characters are preoccupied with intellectual pursuits, presumably less worldly pursuits such as these are, these characters remain indulgent, lustful in their passion, just the same. And all that, I think, can make for good reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I have read "Chess" and "Fear" before, but the others were new to me. "Burning Secret" tells the story of a flirtation from the point of view of a lonely, innocent teenage boy. It is emotionally intense and both sad and amusing at times. The story suits Zweig's precise, pared down style of writing very well and may be the highlight of the collection. "Chess" is set on a transatlantic passage during the early years of WWII and is about a lot more than a few games of chess. It is Zweig's most famous I have read "Chess" and "Fear" before, but the others were new to me. "Burning Secret" tells the story of a flirtation from the point of view of a lonely, innocent teenage boy. It is emotionally intense and both sad and amusing at times. The story suits Zweig's precise, pared down style of writing very well and may be the highlight of the collection. "Chess" is set on a transatlantic passage during the early years of WWII and is about a lot more than a few games of chess. It is Zweig's most famous novella, but the others in this collection are just as good. "Fear" concerns a woman who has been having an affair and is blackmailed. It is a disturbing story and shows the problems adulterous women might face, without being too judgemental. Our sympathy is with Irene. "Confusion" is another story which challenges the mores of the time. An academic looks back to the time when he was a student and a professor kindled his interest in literature. The professor has a hidden and, at the time, shameful side to his life. It is a sad story and makes me think Zweig would have liked to see some of the changes in society which have happened since. This was another favourite. "Journey into the Past" is the weakest story in this collection, in my opinion, but it is still good. A man and woman who fell in love nine or ten years earlier have a reunion, but there are indications that the past cannot be recaptured. (Where there big Nazi parades in 1921? even if there weren't, it is a powerful image.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Lutes

    One of the problems of The Complete... collections is that some of the entries are there only because they exist. This collection of novellas starts of strong with the wonderful (and rightly more famous) Burning Secret and Chess. I really enjoy the focus of Zweig's narrative prose and I am refreshed by the adherence to the classical unities which are lately out of style. After the two great opening novellas, we wander into The Complete works territory and find a few that probably should have bee One of the problems of The Complete... collections is that some of the entries are there only because they exist. This collection of novellas starts of strong with the wonderful (and rightly more famous) Burning Secret and Chess. I really enjoy the focus of Zweig's narrative prose and I am refreshed by the adherence to the classical unities which are lately out of style. After the two great opening novellas, we wander into The Complete works territory and find a few that probably should have been left in obscurity. Zweig loves a twist at the end, but they come off as cheap and gimmicky. Overall, the collection is solid, though, and I am happy to find Zweig. I look forward to exploring his other works.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Erich

    Stefan Zweig is a master of the psychological novella. Here are five very strong examples of his mastery: Burning Secret - **** A Chess Story - ***** Fear - ***** Confusion - ***** Journey Into the Past - ****1/2 The problem with reading stories like this is that they can't be read again for the first time. Fear and Confusion, in particular, include revealing scenes that make the pieces fall into place. Thank you to the late great Anthea Bell for making these wonderful stories available to the Eng Stefan Zweig is a master of the psychological novella. Here are five very strong examples of his mastery: Burning Secret - **** A Chess Story - ***** Fear - ***** Confusion - ***** Journey Into the Past - ****1/2 The problem with reading stories like this is that they can't be read again for the first time. Fear and Confusion, in particular, include revealing scenes that make the pieces fall into place. Thank you to the late great Anthea Bell for making these wonderful stories available to the English-reader. Pushkin Press also has done a marvelous job with the physical book, which is a clothbound, vivid cardinal red rather that the magenta in the image, quality paper and tightly bound, a book made to last for many readings.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is one of those books that I never would have picked up on my own (or probably even on a recommendation) but I read it for book club and I'm so glad I did! Zweig is a talented author with a skill for getting inside people's heads and exposing their strongest emotions--fear and passion. This group of stories explores how secrets, sexuality, and even loneliness can affect the human brain and heart. He tells his stories from the viewpoint of a child, a young man, a married woman, and even an o This is one of those books that I never would have picked up on my own (or probably even on a recommendation) but I read it for book club and I'm so glad I did! Zweig is a talented author with a skill for getting inside people's heads and exposing their strongest emotions--fear and passion. This group of stories explores how secrets, sexuality, and even loneliness can affect the human brain and heart. He tells his stories from the viewpoint of a child, a young man, a married woman, and even an older man in his twilight years--and all are equally powerful. I will now be one of those people who recommend Zweig to others!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keval

    Right after Chess, I picked up this one. Happy to report I wasn't disappointed. Burning Secret is probably my favourite in this collection, although I like how Fear slowly pans out. Without giving away too much, both stories are about extramarital affairs, but Zweig takes them in very different directions. Zweig's writing is a tad descriptive in most of the stories in this volume (which also includes Chess). On the whole though, it doesn't feel very exhausting -- with the possible exception of t Right after Chess, I picked up this one. Happy to report I wasn't disappointed. Burning Secret is probably my favourite in this collection, although I like how Fear slowly pans out. Without giving away too much, both stories are about extramarital affairs, but Zweig takes them in very different directions. Zweig's writing is a tad descriptive in most of the stories in this volume (which also includes Chess). On the whole though, it doesn't feel very exhausting -- with the possible exception of the story called Confusion.

  19. 5 out of 5

    T.J.

    One can’t have literary comprehension without real experience, mere grammatical knowledge of the words is useless without recognition of their values, and when you young people want to understand a country and its language you should start by seeing it at its most beautiful, in the strength of its youth, at its most passionate. You should begin by hearing the language in the mouths of the poets who create and perfect it, you must have felt poetry warm and alive in your hearts before we start ana One can’t have literary comprehension without real experience, mere grammatical knowledge of the words is useless without recognition of their values, and when you young people want to understand a country and its language you should start by seeing it at its most beautiful, in the strength of its youth, at its most passionate. You should begin by hearing the language in the mouths of the poets who create and perfect it, you must have felt poetry warm and alive in your hearts before we start anatomizing it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Avedon Arcadio

    A wonderful collection of stories by an author who loved to write about stories. I will say my favorites were A Chess Story and Confusion with Journey Into the Past coming in third. Chess Story is the only one that really felt slightly out of place simply because the rest were more like love stories. One could have easily swapped another short story of Zweig’s “Amok” with it and it would have made a more loved themed collection. Regardless all around a fine collection worth reading to become acq A wonderful collection of stories by an author who loved to write about stories. I will say my favorites were A Chess Story and Confusion with Journey Into the Past coming in third. Chess Story is the only one that really felt slightly out of place simply because the rest were more like love stories. One could have easily swapped another short story of Zweig’s “Amok” with it and it would have made a more loved themed collection. Regardless all around a fine collection worth reading to become acquainted with this author’s fine works.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ion

    Amazing short stories! The characters are very well developed, and the story captivates from the beginning. The story remains intriguing while Zweig switches the poinf of view from one character's to the next. His stories remain in a time passed and they keep the formal romanticism and code of conduct of an aristocratic world, still intriguing. I can't wait to read more of his books! Amazing short stories! The characters are very well developed, and the story captivates from the beginning. The story remains intriguing while Zweig switches the poinf of view from one character's to the next. His stories remain in a time passed and they keep the formal romanticism and code of conduct of an aristocratic world, still intriguing. I can't wait to read more of his books!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Patricia Boksa

    An excellent writer. His stories are very compellingly - they draw you right in and keep you so engaged with the main character and his dilemma, and wondering how it will all turn out. Brilliant and highly engaging characterization. And he's very readable. I can't believe I had never heard of him although it's said he was one of the world's most famous writers in the 1920s and 30s. An excellent writer. His stories are very compellingly - they draw you right in and keep you so engaged with the main character and his dilemma, and wondering how it will all turn out. Brilliant and highly engaging characterization. And he's very readable. I can't believe I had never heard of him although it's said he was one of the world's most famous writers in the 1920s and 30s.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Basia Korzeniowska

    I have only read the novella Chess, because the edition I have makes that a complete book. I would like to read the others.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Riddles

    Such great story telling. I read all 5 novellas in one day.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    These were not as enjoyable as his short stories or novels. Perhaps novellas were not Zweig's strong suit. Many of these felt padded out with overlong sections of character introspection. These were not as enjoyable as his short stories or novels. Perhaps novellas were not Zweig's strong suit. Many of these felt padded out with overlong sections of character introspection.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paithan

    I felt like I had been transported back in time, to Europe before the Second World War. Amazing.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dessi Walsh

    Stefan Zweig is incomparable. The subtlety and sensitivity to even the tiniest gradations of how our minds and emotions work, is something that offers greater depth with every new reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Beaulieu

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved these. I picked it up because the author was mentioned (like a clue) in A Sense of An Ending, and when I looked Zweig up they said he committed suicide because Hitler had destroyed the world and he couldn't bear it. Being one of those people (cough) who sees parallels between Trump and Hitler, I decided to read him, although everything I read said he was a bad writer. I thought these were great - kind of funny sometimes, maybe a little overly romantic at points (but I'm a romantic!) but I loved these. I picked it up because the author was mentioned (like a clue) in A Sense of An Ending, and when I looked Zweig up they said he committed suicide because Hitler had destroyed the world and he couldn't bear it. Being one of those people (cough) who sees parallels between Trump and Hitler, I decided to read him, although everything I read said he was a bad writer. I thought these were great - kind of funny sometimes, maybe a little overly romantic at points (but I'm a romantic!) but overall an interesting peek into a bygone way of life, much like I feel reading Turgenev for example. The only one I didn't really like (thus 4 stars instead of 5) was (I think) Fear ... what WAS that husband up to anyway? I didn't know how I felt about him!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Meghan

    It seems kind of redundant for me to have written The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zweig. Who else would they have been by? I think I need to write a story called The Collected Novellas of a name that isn't mine by my name. Also, it won't be collection of novellas. It'll be a poetry book or a piece of investigative journalism or a video game. It will be full of sentences like The red house is blue and Feed the dog food to the cat. Moving on to novellas of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zw It seems kind of redundant for me to have written The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zweig. Who else would they have been by? I think I need to write a story called The Collected Novellas of a name that isn't mine by my name. Also, it won't be collection of novellas. It'll be a poetry book or a piece of investigative journalism or a video game. It will be full of sentences like The red house is blue and Feed the dog food to the cat. Moving on to novellas of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zweig, wikipedia tells me that "[a]t the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writers in the world." I could see why. With only a few broad strokes, the world he paints has such vivacity, the ostentatiousness of middle-Europe before and between the wars. The first class carriages and lamp lit streets and fur coats on ladies and thin little cigarettes. Silk stockings with lines up the backs. Men with mustaches, unironically. And then, because don't I always have my and then's, there's a sort of monotony in excess. The stories are dense for very little actual goings-on and they start to drag. Plus all the women in the stories are silly, bobble-headed fools. They actually aren't differentiated in any way, so I'll rephrase: the woman in four of these novellas is a silly, bobble-headed fool. Her adultery, since the woman never remains faithful, is clearly on her, never on the man with whom she partakes her dalliances, or even the husband who (in story number three), and this is a big spoiler here, hires an actress to torment his wife to the point of suicide. Yes, the husband concocts a plan that destroys his wife's mental state, but she's the one who needs her head examined; he's presented as quite the clever fellow for his machinations. My book's blurb laments how Zweig has fallen out of fashion. Yes, well, there may be a reason for that when an author treats fifty percent of the populace as flibberty-gibbets. Moving on again from those four novellas of Zweig's, The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig has one more story in it: A Chess Story. Our maligned adulteress is not present; actually I don't think any women are, which raises a whole other set of issues, but pushing that aside, why couldn't the four other novellas be like this one? We're on a ship, men are strolling about having metaphorical cock-fights with each other, and then it jolts into a whole, completely paranoid, Old Boy-esque backstory of a man trapped in a hotel room, losing his mind, and megalomaniac chess masters, and the whole thing races even though it's a chess match where one of the players is purposefully going slow and it's like all the things one dreams of in a novella, speed and plot and emotion and gravitas, but then we're done and A Chess Story is only the second story in this collection, and there are three more to go, and if it weren't for the brilliance of A Chess Story I'd just toss the book at the wall (not really, it's on my kobo) and forget about it. So I liked The Chess Story. The rest can stay behind in obscurity. For my tastes of Germany between the wars, I'll take Christopher Isherwood, any day, instead. The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig by Stefan Zweig went on sale February 2, 2016. I received a copy free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. (On Netgalley, when one posts a review, there's always a Are you interested in connecting with this author checkbox. I only check yes for authors who are deceased because I really want to see Netgalley try to make that sort of thing happen. So maybe we'll get a Stefan Zweig seance sometime in the future courtesy of Netgalley.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    The first thing you need to know about this collection is that you have to stick with it. Some of the stories take a little time to warm into but if you take the time to work through them, it’ll be worth it. As a whole, I think the collection is a good showcase of Stefan Zweig’s writing, particularly in terms of his ability to display humans and their emotions at their best and worst. But individually, there are some stories that definitely outshine the others. My personal favourite was A Chess S The first thing you need to know about this collection is that you have to stick with it. Some of the stories take a little time to warm into but if you take the time to work through them, it’ll be worth it. As a whole, I think the collection is a good showcase of Stefan Zweig’s writing, particularly in terms of his ability to display humans and their emotions at their best and worst. But individually, there are some stories that definitely outshine the others. My personal favourite was A Chess Story, which starts out as the tale of a world champion chess player and ends up being a war survival story with a difference. I liked this one the most not only because it ended up being something completely different to what I expected, but also because of the psychological aspect of it. It’s hard to tell you about it without giving away any spoilers, but I will say that it showed how psychological torture can be just as bad as physical torture. Another stand out for me, was the very first novella in the collection, A Burning Secret, also starting out as one thing and ending up quite another. In this case, it begins with a well off man seeking out female companionship for fun, and ends up being about a child on the cusp of adulthood, losing that last piece of childish innocence. The other three stories, Fear, Confusion, and Journey Into the Past were, to me, about love and lust, and the way that the two mix and mingle, causing us to sometime make poor decisions; redeem us; or, upon reflection, not be what we thought it was in the heat of the moment – love can be lost and it can be found, but when we find it, it may not necessarily be what we remembered. Fear was probably my least favourite of the five novellas and as it’s right in between all the others, it feels like a bit of a struggle to get through in order to make it to the final two novellas. But it’s worth reading because there is definitely something to be taken away from it. I would suggest saving A Chess Story to the end though, as it’s the jewel of the collection and it would be the perfect way to finish reading. But in any case, each of them adds something of its own to the collection as a whole, and even if you don’t necessarily like a story, it’s worth reading it just for Zweig’s writing. Although it’s dark at times, it’s also humourous, and I found myself laughing out loud on more than one occasion. There is so much humanity in his writing as well – to me it was almost like he felt every cut one person inflicted on another, but also felt every moment of tenderness, and then he wrote it all down. I know that sounds a bit weird, but I can’t think of any other way to describe it. It’s hard to explain – you just need to read his work and see. Maybe you’ll see it differently. If you’re looking at reading Zweig but aren’t sure that you want to make a commitment to a book of this length (it’s about 380 pages), all of the novellas are available individually from Pushkin Press and A Chess Story would be the ideal place to start to whet your appetite for Zweig. But I say dive in head first and immerse yourself completely in Zweig – it’s worth it.

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