Books, Reading, Teaser Tuesday
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Teaser Tuesday – ‘The Collected Novellas of Stefan Zweig’

CollectedNovellasofStefanZweigTeaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along! All you have to do is grab the book you’re currently reading, open to a random page and share two sentences from that page. But make sure you don’t share any spoilers!

I was spoilt for choice this week as I currently have five books on the go, which basically goes against everything I stand for because I’ve always been a pretty monogamous sort of reader and just stick to one at a time. There are a couple of reasons I have so many on the go: first because I started two books during the 24in48 readathon and didn’t finish them (you can read all about my weekend spent in bed reading here); and the other reason is the subject of this week’s Teaser Tuesday – The Collected Novells of Stefan Zweig.

At 384 pages it isn’t really that long, but some of the novellas have been a little hard to get into, so I sat it aside and read something else instead. But yesterday morning on the train, just a forced myself to continue reading it. Zweig’s writing came alive again and had me excited for what lay ahead. So I thought I’d share a couple of sentences from that particular novella, ‘Confusion’. Here, the lull after the passion and vibrancy of Shakespeare’s day is discussed:

“And as suddenly as it vibrantly arose that magnificent eruption of mankind collapses again, twitching; the drama is over, England exhausted, and for another hundred years the damp and foggy grey of the Thames lies dull upon the spirit again. A whole race has scaled the heights and depths of passion in a single onslaught, feverishly spewing  the overflowing, frenzied soul from its breast—and there the land lies now, weary, worn out; pettifogging Puritanism closes the theatres and thus silences the impassioned language, the Bible alone is heard again, the word of God, where the most human word of all had made the most fiery confessions of all time, and a single ardent race lived for thousands in its own unique way.”

What are you reading this week?

 

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17 Comments

  1. A great quote! I’m trying to wrap up some loose ends from 2015 as well as finish books I started for the literary trip and didn’t quite finish. So I’ve got way too many almost-finished books going right now, too — know the feeling, and it’s not like me to have so many at once, either.

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    • I finished Zweig yesterday afternoon which is such a relief as I’ve been on it for about two weeks.
      But yeah, I really need to get this ‘reading multiple books at once’ thing under control. It’s so hard deciding which book to read on the train each day – I don’t need that in the morning. It’s enough of a struggle to decide whether to a) actually get out of bed, or b) decide what to wear.

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      • I can understand that!
        I sometimes wish I had a daily commute so that I could use the time to read. 🙂 Unfortunately, the U.S. is not known for having good public transport. When I’ve had a commute in my life, I’ve always been driving myself.

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        • I do love my daily commute. I like that it gives me two hours every day that I get to read and not have to worry about anything else.
          I’ve often wondered about the U.S. public transport system. So many people in the Sydney area commute to work every day (and I mean a commute that’s more than one hour in one direction like me), but for some reason I never picture that happening in the U.S.

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        • I’m always surprised by how many people commute in the U.S. despite not having good public transportation. We’re so crazy about our cars. Personally, I’ve never had a commute longer than 15 minutes, but I know so many people who commute an hour or more, but of course they drive themselves. I wouldn’t mind a long commute where I was free to read or use a laptop, but I’d go crazy before I was confined to my own car for several hours every single day.

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    • Thanks! I finished it yesterday afternoon and was pretty happy with it in the end.
      Thanks for sharing your teaser – your book sounds like fun (and I really feel like a scone now!).

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  2. I don’t think I’ve read any Zweig. Add another author to the list to check out…

    I’ll be working on James Salter’s short story collection “Dusk” and then one of “Nausea” by Sartre, “Giovanni’s Room” by Baldwin, “Bengal Nights” by Eliade, or McCarthy’s “C.” Too much choice…

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    • I really like his work (the little I’ve read of it) but I think he might be an acquired taste. If you can get a copy of ‘Chess Story’ (one of the novellas in this collection) on its own I’d give that a read first – it’s brilliant. His short biography on Montaigne is lovely and is probably one of the few books I’ll return to in coming years – it offers a lot to think about.
      Sounds like you have lots of good reading ahead. I haven’t read any of the authors you mentioned. I just checked out ‘Nausea’ on Goodreads and it sounds intriguing – I’ll definitely be checking it out.

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      • I found a translation of “The Royal Game” (aka chess story) online, so I’ll give that a read through. It’s interesting to think about how the translations might work. The one I came across is by B.W. Huebsch, so we’ll see how it is. Thank you for the recommendation.

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  3. I have only read one book by Zweig (and I think it was his only full-length novel – The Post Office Girl) – I thought it was extraordinary and have this collection in my TBR stack.

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    • I love his work so much – and I thank Wes Anderson every day for introducing Zweig into my life.
      I really liked the first two novellas in this collection, the third one not so much and the fourth one (where the quote was taken from) wasn’t so great to start but got so much better. I’ve just got one novella to go now so hopefully it finishes on a high!

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      • I read some reviews of this collection on Goodreads and they were damning 😦 I guess if you’d never read anything like Zweig before the language would seem stilted.

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        • His writing is really beautiful once you get into the rhythm of it. I just read one review of it on Goodreads (I think it’s the very first one that shows up), and that person seems to have completely misread one of the stories (although reading is obviously subjective), so I wouldn’t base your opinion of the book on the Goodreads reviews. Having said that, it’s probably not the best collection to showcase his novellas. Some of them are brilliant and others not so much, but they each have an interesting way of looking at human emotion and the way individuals interact with each other and society. If you can get a copy of ‘Chess Story’ on its own, rather than part of this collection, I can highly recommend it – it’s easily the best of the lot and would give you a good idea of his writing (if you haven’t read him before).

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