Amok and Other StoriesAmok and Other Stories by Stefan Zweig
My rating: 4/5 cats
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no, guys, it isn’t that zweig...

i am grateful for my book club for wrenching me out of the world of teen fiction, if only momentarily. even though i have been enjoying some of the teen stuff, sometimes i just want to read about someone older than myself. otherwise i just feel elderly and out of touch.

this book contains four short stories; three parts devotion, one part despair. i am not sure if this review is the road to spoiler city, but i am going to discuss the situation that links these four stories together, because i figure if there is a collection of similar-situation stories, the publisher did it for a reason, and it is no secret. for example, this book:

is about zombie love stories. secret’s out. rarrrr.

this zweig book contains four suicide stories. and maybe it is just a sick joke on the part of pushkin press because zweig did of course end up a double suicide with his wife, but i think apart from that biographical fact, the end result in these stories is of no consequence; it is the process each character takes to get to that point that is more interesting than the punch line.

i was told by a german woman that zweig was all head, no heart. and i thought to myself, “great, another book for this group that is all cerebral bullshit* like death in venice or the lover and why can’t we read something with balls for a change?”

but this is oozing heart. maybe it actually gains something in translation. all of the characters in these stories feel love or duty so deeply that their own lives become secondary and when they have caused displeasure, or are to be separated from their object, or when their duty has been performed or their plans are obstructed, they have no choicethey cannot go on living. and that is so much more romantic than restraint, than moping about it and moving on. as character studies, they are fascinating.

i don’t want to go into too much detail because 1) i am coming down from a brownie-scarfing-project-runway-finale high, 2) i am super sleepy, and 3) these stories are so short, that if i mention even three words of plot, there’s half the story gone.

but i do believe i will be reading more of his workand i love pushkin press and their handy-sized beautifully textured books, and their impressive list of authors.

let’s pretend this review is better and more informative than it is so i can go to bed.

* by which i simply mean it does not fulfill my need for the tragically melodramatic in all my love stories.

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