The Post-office Girl

The Post-office Girl

Book - 2008
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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 Girl .  The 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 post-office girl is Christine, who looks after her ailing mother and toils in a provincial Austrian post office in the years just after the Great War. One afternoon, as she is dozing among the official forms and stamps, a telegraph arrives addressed to her. It is from her rich aunt, who lives in America and writes requesting that Christine join her and her husband in a Swiss Alpine resort. After a dizzying train ride, Christine finds herself at the top of the world, enjoying a life of privilege that she had never imagined.

But Christine's aunt drops her as abruptly as she picked her up, and soon the young woman is back at the provincial post office, consumed with disappointment and bitterness. Then she meets Ferdinand, a wounded but eloquent war veteran who is able to give voice to the disaffection of his generation. Christine's and Ferdinand's lives spiral downward, before Ferdinand comes up with a plan which will be either their salvation or their doom.

Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.

Publisher: New York : New York Review Books, [2008]
Copyright Date: ©2008
ISBN: 9781590172629
Branch Call Number: ZWE
Characteristics: 257 pages ; 21 cm.

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1
1aa
Jul 09, 2015

A fluidly narrated, briskly paced novel.
Whets one's appetite for even more Zweig.

l
lukasevansherman
Feb 24, 2015

The Austrian writer Stefan Zweig fled Europe when the Nazis took power and eventually killed himself. His life and work were an inspiration for Wes Anderson's deceptively whimsical "The Grand Budapest Hotel."
http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2015/02/how-grand-budapest-hotel-pays-tribute-to-the-holocaust/385264/

s
stewstealth
Nov 02, 2014

Translation from German ( the English prose is well done) set in 1920's Austria. The novel shows a dichotomy between the poor and rich of the time. The narrative is very well done and for a short novel the characterization is well conceived. A well done story. Worth reading.

h
horthhill
Apr 18, 2014

The Post Office Girl by Stefan Zweig is a long novella. Divided into two parts, the first concerns the post office girl and her introduction to the life of the idle rich at the invitation of her wealthy aunt and uncle who are staying at a luxurious Swiss resort hotel. The second part sees the post office girl return to her poor village and small post office. She becomes extremely embittered.
The novella does a pretty good job of giving us a bird's eye view of this girl's life. I'm not sure that we really get to "know" her, though. I'm also not convinced that she would have become morbidly embittered, as she does. Zweig seems, to me, to have gone to an extreme motivated by very little. Still, a very worthwhile read. The translation was good in that it read well. (I have no idea how faithful it was to the German. )

melwyk Apr 27, 2012

Reading this book is the perfect antidote to any La-Boheme-style romanticization of poverty. It reveals the ugliness, both physical and spiritual, that comes from constant want. It is shocking and yet, sadly, recognizable and relevant. Electrifying read about post WWI Germany.
Full review at Indextrious Reader http://indextrious.blogspot.ca/2009/01/zweigs-post-office-girl.html

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