A deep study of the uneasy heart by one of the masters of the psychological novel, Journey into the Past, published here for the first time in America, is a novella that was found among Zweig’s papers after his death. Investigating the strange ways in which love, in spite of everything—time, war, betrayal—can last, Zweig tells the story of Ludwig, an ambitious young man from a modest background who falls in love with the wife of his rich employer. His love is returned, and the couple vow to live together, but then Ludwig is dispatched on business to Mexico, and while he is there the First World War breaks out. With travel and even communication across the Atlantic shut down, Ludwig makes a new life in the New World. Years later, however, he returns to Germany to find his beloved a widow and their mutual attraction as strong as ever. But is it possible for love to survive precisely as the impossible?
Zweig was a brilliant Austrian writer whose work brings to mind that of his compatriot Joseph Roth. Like the recently rediscovered works of the Hungarian Sándor Márai, these fictions are a treat of prewar European literature.
Journey into the Past is vintage Stefan Zweig
—lucid, tender, powerful and compelling.
—Chris Schuler, The Independent
One hardly knows where to begin in praising Zweig’s work. One gets the impression that he actively preferred to write about women, and about the great moral crises that send shivers down the spines of polite society.
—Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
A remarkable tour de force…this is a masterclass in the language of beautiful storytelling.
—Paul Blezard, The Lady
Zweig belongs with three very different masters who each perfected the challenging art of the short story and the novella: Maupassant, Turgenev and Chekhov.