Amok and other Stories

Amok and other Stories

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by Stefan Zweig, Anthea Bell
     
 

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A doctor in the Dutch East Indies torn between his medical duty to help and his own mixed emotions; a middle-aged maidservant whose devotion to her master leads her to commit a terrible act; a hotel waiter whose love for an unapproachable aristocratic beauty culminates in an almost lyrical death and a prisoner-of-war longing to be home again in Russia. In these four…  See more details below

Overview

A doctor in the Dutch East Indies torn between his medical duty to help and his own mixed emotions; a middle-aged maidservant whose devotion to her master leads her to commit a terrible act; a hotel waiter whose love for an unapproachable aristocratic beauty culminates in an almost lyrical death and a prisoner-of-war longing to be home again in Russia. In these four stories, Stefan Zweig shows his gift for the acute analysis of emotional dilemmas. His four tragic and moving cameos of the human condition are played out against cosmopolitan and colonial backgrounds in the first half of the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“What did Zweig have that brought him the fanatical devotion of millions of readers, the admiration of Herman Hesse, the invitation to give the eulogy at the funeral of Sigmund Freud? To learn that, we would have to have a biography that illuminated all aspects of his work, that read all of his books, and that challenged, rather than accepted, the apparent modesty of his statements about his life and work.” – Benjamin Moser, Bookforum
 
“Amok, a 1922 novella (recently reissued in Pushkin Press’s Collected Stories, translated by Anthea Bell). . . is quintessentially Zweig, masterful in generating suspense, operatically predictable (the woman always dies in Act Four, so the man has a story to tell in Act Five), and drenched in the implicit mores of the day, which Zweig tweaked in his modest fashion by depicting a clean abortion as a better option than a coat hanger. . . . Amok is a compelling story: for its meticulous portrait of the doctor’s emotional process, its compression, and the almost identically sharp observations of gestures, movements, the charged silences in a conversation.” – Gary Indiana, Bookforum

"I can’t think of a writer who is more successful at depicting amour fou - what one critic describes as 'sex and madness breaking through the lacquered screen of upper-bourgeois society'- nowhere more grippingly than in Amok in which a doctor, a Conradesque loner, is tipped into "a sort of human rabies" by an unattainable colonial wife." – Julie Kavanagh, The Economist Intelligent Life

"To read Zweig is to be in the presence of a properly mature writer, for all that his characters are often in the grip of highly inappropriate desires. (...) These are unforgettable stories, beautifully translated. Anthea Bell is a first-rate translator; she brings out the humour as well as the anguish that make Zweig's work so sympathetically acute." – Nicholas Lezard, Guardian

"Touching and delightful. Those adjectives are not meant as faint praise. Zweig may be especially appealing now because rather than being a progenitor of big ideas, he was a serious entertainer, and an ardent and careful observer of habits, foibles, passions and mistakes." A.O. Scott, The New York Times 

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781906548544
Publisher:
Steerforth Press
Publication date:
02/20/2007
Series:
Pushkin Collection
Sold by:
Penguin Random House Publisher Services
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
118
File size:
212 KB

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Meet the Author

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 into a wealthy Viennese Jewish family. He studied at the Universities of Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Zweig traveled widely, living in Salzburg, London and New York before settling in Brazil where he and his wife were found dead in 1942.

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Amok And Other Stories 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Ronci More than 1 year ago
Stefan Zweig is an author whose writings make one beg for more all the while knowing that what is available is all that will ever be. I reviewed Chess Story, the first of his books that I found. Then I began a search to find other work. Amok and Other Stories is a small volume containing four short stories, each about the power of obsessive love, desire, need, contrived entitlement, duty and sacrifice. The character in each study is lonely, isolated, of low rank, modest...an invisible creature existing almost on air alone. The character becomes infatuated and mesmerized by another only by chance and the obsession attaches itself magically and mysteriously leading to an ultimate destruction. As one reads these small stories, one becomes fanatical to follow the trail knowing it will take one to the pit of despair. Zweig excels in the portrayal of fringe individuals yet in some obscure way, one wonders if at some time or place, given the circumstance, one could become or one has become as intricately involved with another as to suffer humiliation and defeat or even the possibility of death. We are all vulnerable. Zweig roots out our weaknesses and we watch, as if in a play within a play, helpless, trapped and forlorn, the words on the page live and breathe such depths of torment and frenzy that we are unlikely to escape the impact ever.