The Post-Office Girl

The Post-Office Girl

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590172629
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 04/15/2008
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 172,314
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.97(h) x 0.57(d)

About the Author

Stefan Zweig (1881—1942) spent his youth studying philosophy and the history of literature in Vienna and belonged to a pan-European cultural circle that included Hugo von Hofmannsthal and Richard Strauss. In 1934, under National Socialism, Zweig fled Austria for England, where he authored several novels, short stories, and biographies. In 1941 Zweig and his second wife traveled to Brazil, where they both committed suicide. NYRB Classics published his novels Chess Story and Beware of Pity.

Joel Rotenberg has produced NYRB original translations for Stefan Zweig’s Chess Story and Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s The Lord Chandos Letter.

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The Post-Office Girl 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
sfh_from_illinois More than 1 year ago
Starts off very nicely, with description of post WWI Austria, capturing the bureaucratic culture of the former Prussian empire in its rather stale and anal hyper-organization. But the novel loses its credibility with the faster-than-overnight transformation of the female protagonist (whose name I have already forgotten) from bland poor girl to naive, entitled rich girl. Much of the problem is the author's incessant repetition of the same point, over and over, again, to make sure we don't miss it, namely: how the luxury of the aunt's lifestyle reshapes everything the poor girl thinks and feels. Then, of course, comes the major letdown she confronts when she is betrayed by her new-found friends. The second half of the book is even more heavy-handed. Our 'heroine' rather improbably meets and befriends an embittered, nihilistic former German soldier who barely survived the Russian prison camps; he becomes her companion and eventually her lover. At this point the author's unrelentless expostulation of the unfairness of...of everything in life, really...of fate, of capitalism, of government corruption and incompetence...to the point where the reader just wants to tear out the pages. Alas, one has to finish the book to be able to pontificate at Book Club. :) One might appreciate the book as a snapshot of a miserable period in western Europe. And, as the protagonists plot their revenge of sorts on the establishment, though not with a particularly elevated sense of hope or aspiration, the reader might enjoy assessing the detailed planning of their escape. We never learn how it all works out, which is just as well, of course, because whether they find happiness or not is not really the point of the book. What is the point of the book? At first I thought it was a critique of capitalism and a cry for socialist rule, sort of an attempt at artful propaganda. But in the end it just seems to be another illustration of the maxim 'life sucks, and then you die.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago