It’s been said that Stefan Zweig is either loved or unknown. Up until recently I’d never heard of the Austrian writer but after reading Confusion, Zweig’s novella published in 1927, I moved swiftly into the former. After The Post-Office Girl, his unfinished novel published posthumously in 1982, I was a committed evangelist.
Zweig was born in Austria in 1881 to Jewish parents and came of age during World War I. While patriotism and jingoism were the mode of the day, he chose pacifism. During Hitler’s rise to power, Zweig’s Jewish heritage, although he was not a religious person, became problematic and forced him and his second wife to flee Austria in 1934. They first went to London, then New York City, and ultimately Brazil. Rio was their final destination and the place where they tragically took their lives together by way of barbituate overdose.
The common theme that…
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