Book Beat’s Reading Group selection for May is Selected Stories by Stefan Zweig. The Reading Group will meet on Wednesday, May 27th at 7pm in the Goldfish Teahouse (117 W 4th St #101, Royal Oak, MI 48067). Books are discounted 15% at Book Beat. All are welcome!
“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
“Zweig wrote in order to belong, but what he wrote about was the experience of not belonging.” -George Prochnik, author of The Impossible Exile: Stefan Zweig at the End of the World
Fantastic Night is the story of one transforming evening in the life of a rich and bored young man. He spends a day at the races and an evening in the seedy but thrilling company of the dregs of society. His experiences jolt him out of his languor and give him a newfound relish for life, which is then cut short by the Great War. The Invisible Collection and Buchmendel, two of Zweig’s most powerful works, explore lives led in the single minded pursuit of art and literature against a backdrop of poverty and corruption. Letter from an Unknown Woman, is a poignant and heartbreaking tale of the strength and madness of unrequited love. This story was made into a film by Max Ophuls starring Joan Fontaine (1948). In The Fowler Snared, it is the man whose passion remains unrequited. Twenty-Four Hours in the Life of a Woman is the story of a middle-aged English widow who travels to escape loneliness and boredom. One evening while enjoying the elegant atmosphere of the Monte Carlo Casino, she becomes mesmerised by the obsessive gambling of a young Polish aristocrat. This fateful encounter leads to passion, despair and death, changing their lives forever. More recently, Zweig’s stories also served as inspiration for Wes Anderson’s film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Stefan Zweig was one of the world’s most famous writers during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the U.S., South America and Europe. He produced novels, plays, biographies and journalist pieces. Among his most famous works are Beware of Pity, Letter from and Unknown Woman and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. He and his second wife committed suicide in 1942.