The Post-Office Girl by Stefan Zweig
(New York Review Books Classics)

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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."

2009 PEN Translation Prize Finalist

The logic of capitalism, boom and bust, is unremitting and unforgiving. But what happens to human feeling in a completely commodified world? In The Post-Office Girl, Stefan Zweig, a deep analyst of the human passions, lays bare the private life of capitalism.Christine toils in a provincial post office in post–World War I Austria, a country gripped by unemployment. Out of the blue, a telegram arrives from Christine’s rich American aunt inviting her to a resort in the Swiss Alps. Christine is immediately swept up into a world of inconceivable wealth and unleashed desire. She feels herself utterly transformed: nothing is impossible. But then, abruptly, her aunt cuts her loose. Christine returns to the post office, where yes, nothing will ever be the same.

Christine meets Ferdinand, a bitter war veteran and disappointed architect, who works construction jobs when he can get them. They are drawn to each other, even as they are crushed by a sense of deprivation, of anger and shame. Work, politics, love, sex: everything is impossible for them. Life is meaningless, unless, through one desperate and decisive act, they can secretly remake their world from within.

Cinderella meets Bonnie and Clyde in Zweig’s haunting and hard-as-nails novel, completed during the 1930s, as he was driven by the Nazis into exile, but left unpublished at the time of his death. The Post-Office Girl, available here for the first time in English, transforms our image of a modern master’s achievement.

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 December 7, 2011 by NYRB Classics. 274 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Post-Office Girl

The Guardian

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In the years between the two world wars, Stefan Zweig was one of the most popular writers in the world, and probably the most widely translated.

Feb 27 2009 | Read Full Review of The Post-Office Girl (New Yor...

The Telegraph

Zweig wrote the novel in the aftermath of the First World War, and it .

Feb 06 2009 | Read Full Review of The Post-Office Girl (New Yor...

The Bookbag

Not only is the fast-paced tale of post office clerk Christine and her brief taste of luxury utterly engaging, every word is absolutely perfect – amazing as this is a translation from German by Joel Rotenberg.

Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Post-Office Girl (New Yor...

By jonSun, 06/29/2008 - 18:52.

Jun 29 2008 | Read Full Review of The Post-Office Girl (New Yor...

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