Journey into the Past

Stefan Zweig, trans. from the German by Anthea Bell, New York Review Books, $14 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-59017-367-1
A focused new translation of the late Zweig's (1881–1942) gorgeous and sad novella spotlights the hopeless passion between a young man and his employer's wife. Ludwig, an ambitious young man from an impoverished background, finds employment with a famous industrialist in Frankfurt-am-Main and is eventually pressed into service as the industrialist's private secretary, living in his house, where he befriends his boss's radiant, sympathetic wife and finds in her an artistic kinship. A passion develops, cut short by the exigencies of the metals business, then by the eruption of WWI, and the two, despite the intervening years and Ludwig's own marriage, eventually embark on an overnight trip together. Moving back and forth through time, Zweig pursues the couple to their destination, where they are confronted by a military demonstration that bludgeons their fragile memories with the cold, crass present. Bell's faultless translation easily conveys the smoldering engine of Zweig's writhing inner consciousness. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 09/20/2010
Release date: 11/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 38 pages - 978-1-59017-412-8
Open Ebook - 81 pages - 978-1-906548-80-3
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