Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
(New York Review Books Classics)

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Synopsis

Wes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:  "I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy of Beware of Pity. I loved this first book.  I also read the The Post-Office GirlThe Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself — our “Author” character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well."

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Hofmiller, an Austro-Hungarian cavalry officer stationed at the edge of the empire, is invited to a party at the home of a rich local landowner, a world away from the dreary routine of the barracks. The surroundings are glamorous, wine flows freely, and the exhilarated young Hofmiller asks his host—s lovely daughter for a dance, only to discover that sickness has left her painfully crippled. It is a minor blunder that will destroy his life, as pity and guilt gradually implicate him in a well-meaning but tragically wrongheaded plot to restore the unhappy invalid to health.
 

About Stefan Zweig

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STEPHAN 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. 1n 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. New York Review Books recently republished his novel, Chess Story, in Fall 2005.JOAN ACOCELLA is a staff writer for The New Yorker and contributes regularly to the New York Review of Books. Her latest books is Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism.
 
Published February 29, 2012 by NYRB Classics. 396 pages
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, War, Action & Adventure. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Beware of Pity

Kirkus Reviews

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In this his first full length novel, Stefan Zweig shows his ability to read into the secret hearts of his characters, the faculty that has given such a human quality to his biographies.

Mar 17 1939 | Read Full Review of Beware of Pity (New York Revi...

The New York Review of Books

It was partly for his cold examination of those esteemed motives that Zweig admired Freud—”he enlarged the sincerity of the universe,” Zweig wrote—and in Beware of Pity he carried the analysis forward.

Jul 13 2006 | Read Full Review of Beware of Pity (New York Revi...

The New York Review of Books

The great Austrian writer Stefan Zweig was a master anatomist of the deceitful heart, and Beware of Pity, the only novel he published during his lifetime, uncovers the seed of selfishness within even the finest of feelings.

Jun 20 2006 | Read Full Review of Beware of Pity (New York Revi...

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