During the 1930s, Zweig was one of the best-selling writers in Europe and was among the most translated German-language writers before the Second World War. With the rise of Nazism, he moved from Salzburg to London (taking British citizenship), to New York, and finally to Brazil, where, in 1942, he committed suicide with his wife.
In Chess Story, a mysterious stranger advises travelers on a ship from New York to Buenos Aires on how to beat the arrogant and unfriendly world champion of chess at what is quite literally his own game; in Journey into the Past, a man tries to rekindle a love that time and distance had snuffed out; in The Post-Office Girl, a young woman is introduced to and cast out of a world of wealth, only to find that she is driven by the desire to make meaning out of meaninglessness; and, in Beware of Pity, a minor blunder ruins a man’s life as he succumbs to guilt and, ultimately, tragedy. In each of these works, Zweig writes tales that are as harrowing and haunting as they are thrillingly compelling.
“In Zweig’s fiction, someone in the story, in a way everyone, has a terrible secret. Secrets are integral to adventure stories [and] the experience of reading Zweig is not so much of entering the world of the story as of plunging inward and dreaming the story.”— Rachel Cohen, Bookforum
“Admired by readers as diverse as Freud, Einstein, Toscanini, Thomas Mann and Herman Goering.” — Edwin McDowell, The New York Times
“Zweig belongs with three very different masters who each perfected the challenging art of the short story and the novella: Maupassant, Turgenev and Chekhov.” — Paul Bailey