NIGHT GAMES

Arthur Schnitzler, Author, John Simon, Author, Margret Schaefer, Translator , trans. from the German by Margret Schaefer, foreword by John Simon. Ivan R. Dee $28.50 (352p) ISBN 978-1-56663-386-4

Though set against the backdrop of the fading Hapsburg Empire, Schnitzler's stories are startlingly contemporary in their outlook, and this collection of new translations is sure to win the Austrian author, who died in 1931, new admirers. In nine short stories and novellas, life's universal themes—the craving for erotic fulfillment, the fragility of love, the yearning for wealth and the abruptness of death—are psychologically probed in dreams, inner monologues and revealing plots. Dream Story will already be familiar to many readers: it is the novella upon which Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut was based. In it, a seemingly rock-solid marriage is undermined when a woman confesses a sexual fantasy to her husband, fueling his jealousy and sparking a dangerous flirtation with sensual adventures. Near the end of "A Farewell," a young man's chilling transformation while viewing his married lover at her deathbed is hauntingly described: "His pain suddenly became thin and insubstantial." "The Widower" depicts the reaction of a husband to his discovery of love letters written by his friend to his late wife; he "is astounded at how at one stroke he now suddenly understands everything, though he had never suspected it in the least." And in "Death of a Bachelor," a writer, a doctor and a businessman find a letter written by their dead friend, informing them that he had seduced all of their wives. Throughout the collection, meticulous character development, passionate dramas and meditative prose will satisfy readers interested in rediscovering a neglected master. (Jan. 4)

Reviewed on: 11/12/2001
Release date: 11/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-56663-506-6
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