Wes Anderson on Stefan Zweig:
''I had never heard of Zweig...when I just more or less by chance bought a copy ofBeware of Pity. I loved this first book. I also read the The Post-OfficeGirl. The Grand Budapest Hotel has elements that were sort of stolen from both these books. Two characters in our story are vaguely meant to represent Zweig himself our Author character, played by Tom Wilkinson, and the theoretically fictionalised version of himself, played by Jude Law. But, in fact, M. Gustave, the main character who is played by Ralph Fiennes, is modelled significantly on Zweig as well.''
The post-office girl is Christine, who looks after her ailing mother and toils in a provincial Austrian post office in the years just after the Great War. One afternoon, as she is dozing among the official forms and stamps, a telegraph arrives addressed to her. It is from her rich aunt, who lives in America and writes requesting that Christine join her and her husband in a Swiss Alpine resort. After a dizzying train ride, Christine finds herself at the top of the world, enjoying a life of privilege that she had never imagined.
But Christines aunt drops her as abruptly as she picked her up, and soon the young woman is back at the provincial post office, consumed with disappointment and bitterness. Then she meets Ferdinand, a wounded but eloquent war veteran who is able to give voice to the disaffection of his generation. Christines and Ferdinands lives spiral downward, before Ferdinand comes up with a plan which will be either their salvation or their doom.
Never before published in English, this extraordinary book is an unexpected and haunting foray into noir fiction by one of the masters of the psychological novel.
An extraordinary work...there's a volcanic energy to Zweig's writing...wholly mesmerising. * The Herald * A far more powerful, worthwhile and enjoyable novel than our present bestsellers -- David Sexton * Evening Standard * This haunting novel is a monument to Zweig's skill * Sunday Telegraph * Language that pierces both brain and heart * The Spectator * Stefan Zweig was a late and magnificent bloom from the hothouse of fin de siecle Vienna...The posthumous publication of a Zweig novel affords an opportunity to revisit this gifted writer...The Post Office Girl is captivating. * The Wall Street Journal * Zweig is one of the masters of the short story and novella, and by 'one of the masters' I mean that he's up there with Maupassant, Chekhov, James, Poe, or indeed anyone you care to name. -- Nicholas Lezard * Guardian * A brilliant writer. * New York Times * I do think this is exceptional.There are scenes of hope and despair that are so lucid, powerful and alive. A classic. -- Esther Freud