Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Royal Game

A woodcut illustration from "Chess"
The Royal Game and Other Stories, by Stefan Zweig

After reading Beware of Pity last year, I wanted to read a little more Zweig, preferably the short novel Chess.   Happily, I ran across it while shelfreading the German literature at work.  Here, it's under the title The Royal Game and collected with four other short stories:

The Burning Secret
Letter from an Unknown Woman

I read them one at a time, with a lot of space in between, so that I could enjoy and absorb them slowly without blurring them together.  All the stories are excellent.  It's no wonder Zweig was one of the most popular European authors of his day.  (That day was the 1920s and 30s.  Zweig committed suicide in 1942, out of despair about the state of the world and Nazi victories.)

I can't tell you much about the stories; they're fairly short (well, long for short stories) and to describe them would be to spoil them for you.  But they're great stuff and I do recommend them.  Zweig is realistic and meticulous in his descriptions, showing the deep feelings that may run under the surface.

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