Letter from an Unknown Woman (because it is a little too short, I think) has become quite popular lately. I read Stefan Zweig’s Amok the last time, and I chose this book to reread the master. It was not difficult for me to understand why this tiny, sixty-eight-page book, which I read in less than an hour, was so popular, especially among women. However, I could not find the Zweig I know in this book.
Of course, the book does not lose its value just because I could not find the Zweig I know. It can be a little frustrating to see how miserable this unknown woman is in her letter. And of course, it seemed ridiculous to me that a man, who was charmingly portrayed, did not remember a woman after which he slept, I don’t know how many times. In other words, if you do not remember a person with whom you had a good night, after a while, then I think there is a problem. Anyway. Regardless, this is a good novella. You find yourself reading a little faster to see how the letter will end. Enjoy!
Letter from an Unknown Woman
A famous author receives a letter on his forty-first birthday. He doesn’t know the sender, but still the letter concerns him intimately. Its story is earnest, even piteous: the story of a life lived in service to an unannounced, unnoticed love.
In the other stories in this collection, a young man mistakes the girl he loves for her sister; two erstwhile lovers meet after an age spent apart; and a married woman repays a debt of gratitude. All four tales, newly translated by the award-winning Anthea Bell, are among Zweig’s most celebrated and compelling work-expertly paced, laced with empathy and an unwaveringly acute sense of psychological detail.
Stefan Zweig was an Austrian novelist, playwright, journalist and biographer. At the height of his literary career, in the 1920s and 1930s, he was one of the most popular writers in the world.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: